2018 Lexus LC500

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2018 Lexus LC500

Written by - Tommy Zondervan

Photographs by Chris Chavez & David Dehaan  

The all new Lexus LC is a stunning and eye-catching luxury coupe starting at $92,200.  Prototype for was revealed back in 2012 and revealed at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, MI.  Same power plant as the RC F and GS F, this 471 hp 5.0L is a very reliable and fun vehicle to drive for a fraction of the maintenance cost of other vehicles in its class.  Ranked second to the Porsche 911 and ahead of the Mercedes-Benz Gt, this Japanese luxury coupe has certainly made headway. Selling over 2,400 units in its first year, it’s only getting more popular. As most of you have noticed it was featured in the blockbuster movie Black Panther.   

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We had an opportunity to spend some time testing it in Chicago traffic, on a 4-hour road trip, high speed testing on a closed track, and traveling with a family of 4.  Wait?  This is a luxury coupe where we usually find barely any space for luggage, but we were able to fit two car seats comfortably!!

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The LC is certainly surrounded by some tough competitors but, the new LC not only gives you a fun powerful coupe but also a practical, comfortable and reliable vehicle with minimum cost to maintain, unlike the cost of upkeep on the new Porsche 911, Mercedes- Benz GT and even the new Acura NSX.  The interior is top notch but what else to you expect from Lexus.  Always known for the finish, craftsmanship and details throughout the years, we were certainly not disappointed with the LC.  

 

The seats really feel sturdy like if you were sitting in a racing seat.  We were treated with a full suede interior with leather trim, and small wood trim along the dash.  The information system is little tricky to get used to, especially if you haven’t spent time in a Lexus before. The full suede bucket seats continue into the back seat, and both sets of seats have a leather bump between them. This bump leaves some to be desired, such as possibly a secondary center console with addition USB and cup holders.  The trunk is small, as expected with a small entry.  It’s shallow but deep to stuff small luggage.

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The performance of the vehicle was great for what the vehicle was built for.  It’s certainly not going to be first to cross any finish line.  It’s heavy, and in need of a diet.  Those who purchase this vehicle just want a fun car that has decent performance, which Lexus has certainly done.  On the left of the instrument panel you can change the vehicle performance, so if you’re in the mode for need for speed then you can set it to Sport +.  You have four settings with Eco, Comfort, Sport and Sport +.  471hp and 398 lb-ft of torque out of a 5.0L V8 give you the right platform to give you both performance and good gas mileage.  In the city we were averaging around 16 mpg, and, on the highway,  we were getting close to 30mpg traveling at 65mpg.  A vehicle with close to 500hp and getting close to 30mpg is a thumbs up for us.  It does take premium fuel, but we aren’t surprised at all since that’s what you expect for a vehicle of this caliber.

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On a plus, we had opportunity to test out the vehicle performance on a straight line.  We attended the Battle Creek Speedfest event where you can take a street legal car and test out how fast you can reach in a 1/2 mile.  What a rush it was. We ran the vehicle three times and all three times it ran a constant low 130 mph from a standing start.  No burn out or launch needed. To be a 4,200 pound coupe on a 130 degree track temperature with 20mph head winds, I think it performed well.  

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Overall, we really enjoyed the vehicle.  It was very eye catching - everywhere we drove we were turning heads and had people asking about the vehicle.  We did mention that we traveled in town with a family of 4.  Our editor Chris felt left out and wanted to drive it with his family.  He was able to travel with his wife, 7 & 4-year-old sons.  Honestly, they were comfortable but as most of us with family knows that whenever you travel long distance you take everything but the house. So, for short trips it’s doable.  If you had to put four adults, yes it might be tight especially if your taller than 5’8 and weigh over 150 pounds.  It was a very comfortable fun car to drive and if I had a $107,867 as tested, I would put it on my “potential” list. You should certainly weigh your options on what vehicle you would like to purchase and consider if you are looking for performance or luxury. This could be an option as it does provide a bit of both.

2018 Toyota 4 Runner Limited

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2018 Toyota 4Runner Limited

Starting at $34,910

Price as Tested $45,750

Written By Tommy Zondervan

Photographs by Chris Chavez

 

One of the most highly recognized and popular SUVs is the Toyota 4Runner.  First introduced in 1983, this model has become one of the top sellers not only in the SUV market, but among all vehicles.  

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After spending time with the new 4Runner, we experienced a different perspective than in any other SUV . It is designed for those off-road, outdoor adventure customers. There are comfort and safety features, but the focus is on options that will allow this vehicle to attack any terrain. We trade luxury for function, but it is still a very comfortable ride.

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During our time with this Limited model, we were able to get the feel of both city, highway and off-road driving.  Once we first received the vehicle, we noticed the nice clean exterior look with a touch of attitude.  The big front grill and chrome accents around the vehicle give it a nice appeal in the big city. Excellent finishing touches to the exterior include 20” wheels and chrome running boards.

 

The interior is very conservative. The informational system and smaller screen are adequate.  All the buttons are big, and it is easy to navigate through the many buttons on the dash.  I am 6ft tall and I felt little claustrophobic due to the low cabin height and short windshield.  We have two kids and found it easy to install the car seats. Though this vehicle has fewer comfort and luxury features than the Highlander, we found it to be a comfortable and easy ride.

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The 4Runner offers a full frame and one engine option: a 4.0L V6 producing 270hp with 278 pounds-feet of torque. It was a smooth ride on both city and highway roads. We averaged about 15 mpg in the city, and 23mpg on the highway driving an average of 65mph.  I wasn’t too crazy about the navigation system as it took too long to put in address, and we were surprised to find that it did not have blind side or a forward collision warning.

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Overall the 4Runner will always be in a league of its own.  Designed to be able to go anywhere with its 9.6’ ground clearance and skid plates protecting majority of the under carriage.  The vehicle drove smooth and quiet and was efficient on both dirt and asphalt. If you are looking for a solid, comfortable vehicle for on and off-road adventures, the 4Runner may be for you. If you are looking for something a bit more luxurious, then think about the Highlander or Lexus RX350. 

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2018 Chevrolet Traverse Redline Edition

2018 Chevrolet Traverse Red Line Edition 

2018 Chevrolet Traverse Red Line Edition 

Written By : Tommy Zondervan 

Photographs by : Kate Boekholder

Here we have the brand the newly re-designed 2018 Chevrolet Traverse Red Line Edition.  There has been a few models in the Chevrolet line up that was in need of a redesigned and this for sure was one of them.  One of the top selling mid size 3rd row vehicles the Traverse has been falling behind with all the modern technology and drivers convenience.  

Above you can see the difference in the two.  Left is a 2017 model and the right is the newly re-designed 2018 model.  You can see significant amount of difference in the two.  First of you can see the longer wheel base.  This allowed more passenger leg room and as well you can see the back end of the vehicle with more headroom.    

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Lot's of new interior features has been added.  Continuing with 4G LTE wifi, Onstar and Satellite Radio.  Big addition to the redesigned is the Apple Car Play/Android Auto smartphone pairing.  This has been such a popular and very convenient feature that you can plug in tour phone in the USB slot and have a window image on approved apps on the screen of the vehicle.  Biggest app is your map.  Apple uses Apple maps where Android Google maps.  This is standard on all models.  

The model we test drove is the 3LT Redline edition.  Well equipped with all your bells and whistle.  Added many features that other manufactures offers including surround vision camera, standard keyless entry with push start, Standard 7-inch radio system (8-inch on Convenience Package), twi-zone climate control, 4.2-inch drivers informational screen, forward collision warning, blind side detection, back up camera, lane assist, adaptive cruise control, front pedestrian detection, following distance indicator to name a few.  The base models do come well equipped.  One of my favorite is the wireless charging pad.  This has been a features thats been in several other models but NOW for those you have a iPhone Plus and larger Android phones it now fits!  

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Increase in 2nd and 3rd seating.  Passenger side 2nd row seat folds up making it easier to get in and out from the 3rd row seating.  No more squeezing in between the middle captains seats.  2nd row bench is standard on the LS models and higher trims you'll get the split second row.  Tri-zone automatic climate control is standard on all models.  Several USB charging stations including 1 120v 3 prong.  

Increase cabin space and more cargo room with 3rd row seat up than the Tahoe.  In rear you have a deep storage compartment where you can store good amount of items including 3 basketballs easily.  On both ends there remove the screws and your spare tire is located directly under it.  

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Comes in two engines.  a 2.0L 4cyl Turbo 255hp with averaging 20 city/25 hwy or a 3.6L V6 310hp averaging 18 city/27 hwy.  The 3.6L you can get in a awd.  Vehicle this big I would personally go with the larger engine.  3.6L is only one available to be able to tow up to 5000 pounds with trailer package.  

I really like all the cosmetic changes made interior and exterior.  You can certainly see and feel the difference.  Rides very well, quiet and most importantly plenty of room for all.  This is a Redline Edition with limited amount being made.  Make sure to visit your nearest dealer for more information.  

Like to thank Scoggin Dickey Chevrolet for the opportunity to spend some time with the newly re-designed 2018 Chevrolet Traverse Redline Edition.  

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2018 CHEVROLET TRAVERSE SPECIFICATIONS

EPA FUEL ECONOMY

City

3.6L FWD: 18
3.6L AWD: 17
2.0L: 20 (FWD – GM-est.)

Highway

3.6L FWD: 27
3.6L AWD: 25
2.0L: 25 (FWD – GM-est.)

 

FUEL TANK CAPACITY (gallons / liters)

19.4 / 73 (FWD)
21.7 / 82 (AWD_

 

ENGINES

 

3.6L DOHC direct injection

Bore & stroke
(in / mm):

3.74 x 3.37 / 95 x 85.8

Block material:

Cast aluminum w/ cast-in-place iron bore liners

Cylinder head material:

Cast aluminum

Valvetrain:

Dual-overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, continuous variable valve timing

Fuel delivery:

Direct, high-pressure fuel injection with electronic throttle control

Horsepower
(hp / kW @ rpm):

310 / 231 @ 6800

Torque
(lb.-ft./ Nm @ rpm):

266 / 360 @ 2800

 

2.0L turbo DOHC DI

Bore & stroke
(in / mm):

3.39 x 3.39 / 86 x 86

Block material:

Cast aluminum w/ cast-in-place iron bore liners

Cylinder head material:

Cast aluminum

Valvetrain:

Dual-overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, continuous variable valve timing

Fuel delivery:

Direct, high-pressure fuel injection with electronic throttle control

Horsepower
(hp @ rpm):

255 / 190 @ 5500 (est.)

Torque
(lb.-ft./ Nm @ rpm):

295 / 400 @ 3000 (est.)

 

TRANSMISSION & AXLE

Type:

Hydra-Matic 9T65 nine-speed automatic (3.6L and 2.0L)

Final Drive Ratio:

3.49 (3.6L and 2.0L)

 

CHASSIS & SUSPENSION

Front Suspension:

MacPherson strut independent with hydraulic control arm ride bushing and hollow stabilizer bar

Rear Suspension:

Five-link independent with auxiliary spring aids and hollow stabilizer bar

Steering Type:

Electric variable-effort power steering with Active Return Assist

Turning Circle
(ft. / m):

39 / 11.9

Brake Type:

Four-wheel-disc, variable brake system with power assist; Duralife brake rotors and low-drag brake calipers

Brake Rotor Size
(in / mm):

TBD

Wheel Size:

18-in. aluminum (L, LS, LT Cloth)
20-in. aluminum (LT Leather, RS, Premier and High Country)

Tire Size:

P225/65R18 ALS
P255/55R20 ALS

 

EXTERIOR DIMENSIONS

Wheelbase (in. / mm):

120.9 / 3071

Overall Length
(in. / mm):

204.3 / 5189

Overall Width
(in. / mm):

78.6 / 1996

Overall Height
(in. / mm):

70.7 / 1795

Track (in. mm):

67.3 / 1709 (front)
67 / 1702 (rear)

 

INTERIOR DIMENSIONS & CARGO VOLUME

Headroom (in / mm):

front: 41.3 / 1049 (without sunroof)
2nd row: 40 / 1016 (without sunroof)
3rd row: 38.2 / 970

Legroom (in. / mm):

front: 41 / 1042
2nd row: 39 / 990
3rd row: 33.5 / 850

Max Cargo Volume (cu. ft. / L):

23 / 651 (behind third row)
58.1 /1645 (behind second row, third row folded)
98.2 / 2781 (second and third rows folded)

 

WEIGHTS & CAPACITIES

Curb Weight
(lb. / kg):

4362 / 1978 (base)

EPA passenger volume (cu. ft. / L):

157.3 / 4454

Trailering Capacity
(lb. / kg):

5000 / 2268 (3.6L with avail. trailering pkg.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017 Toyota Sienna Limited AWD

2017 Toyota Sienna Limited Premier AWD (Staff Photo)

2017 Toyota Sienna Limited Premier AWD (Staff Photo)

Writer : Bill Boekholder - Photos : Toyota USA

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing the new 2017 Toyota Sienna minivan for a working trip up north to Battle Creek Michigan. This being a 4.5 hour trip, one way, I knew I would be able to use most, if not all the bells and whistles this minivan provided, and I was correct for the most part, but yet, it was a minivan

Photos provided by Toyota USA

Photos provided by Toyota USA

First impressions where, it’s a minivan, another young couple (with kids) or older persons (with grandkids) mode of transportation. To say the least, I wasn’t happy because I was expecting a vehicle with a little more pop and pizazz, some flash, some cool rims and a kicking stereo, not a minivan. It didn’t take long for me realize how nice a vehicle it was to drive and relax in.

Let’s talk a little about the nuts and bolts of this minivan. The 296 horsepower, 3.5 litre V6, AWD, makes it more than a minivan. This vehicle has a lot of get up and go, something I was seriously surprised by. For just putting around the town it does seem a little lacking in power, as it should, you’re just going to get groceries or pick up the kids from soccer. Once you get it out on the highway, the surprise comes the first time you go to pass a vehicle and you smash the gas pedal down. It might not be necks snapping speed, but it did get my attention and put me back in my seat a bit. Combined with the AWD, this so called minivan, handled like a sports car on rails. Power was there, steering was tight and neutral. It got around cars and trucks with no problems at all running at the speed limits provided and all with the giddy up and go of a smaller car or a luxury sedan.

Photo provided by Toyota USA

Photo provided by Toyota USA

The exterior was typical minivanish, solid color paint job; maybe a two tone paint or body strip would break it up a little, boring rims are just that, boring. What I liked was coming up on the van at night and pressing unlock on the key fob. The exterior lighting for the driver and passenger side lite up the side door areas real well. The passenger back doors take a little getting used to; I’m not used to using door handles with a delay in the door actually opening. The same can be said of the rear hatch style door. It would be nice if it was motorized like the side doors are when you manually opened it. It’s not a heavy door and is motorized, but if you don’t use the key fob to open it, it can be a little awkward. The roof rack really needs to have some cross bars to help with the various attachments you might need to haul a kayak or maybe some bikes. The two sun roofs are both adequate in size and are a nice feature for the passengers in the back to have their own.

The interior is spacious and accommodating. The third row of stow and go seats are easy to store and just as easy to put back up. The second row of seats move all the way up for easy entry and egress from the third row. With the second row seats all the way up, you have massive amounts of room to put stuff in the back. Since the seats move independently of each other, you can still haul one person and have plenty of room to haul stuff. The front seats are comfortable with plenty of electric adjustments to fit virtually anyone. The nice feature of two preset positions for the driver seat will definably come in handy if you are 6’ 2” and your wifey is 5’4”.

Photo by Toyota USA

Photo by Toyota USA

Sitting in the driver’s seat is like sitting in your own little world of funness. The gauges and controls are strikingly easy to read and operate. Nothing seems out of reach of any driver of any size. Knobs, buttons and the touch screen are well marked and easy to operate. I had to reset the clock because of the time zone changes; it was an absolute snap to do, just like the rest of the controls. The rear doors and rear hatch buttons are in their own little overhead console, combined with the sun roof controls, make this a nice feature. The steering wheel controls are also easy to use, but I wish they would put the cruise control on the steering wheel as well. My only complaint about anything is the location of the cruise control stalk, it’s awkward to use and when you’re on the highway and have to constantly use it, it becomes a bit annoying. The driver’s cockpit is generously equipped with the usual collision avoidance switches that are easy to turn off and on if they become a bother. The headlights are bright, maybe too bright as I was flashed at a couple of times while the lights where on low beam, but they did what they were supposed to do and that is to light up the road.

My only complaints were the cruise control, which I feel Toyota could and should do better. The other would be the outlets for plugging in 12 volt chargers and such. The middle passenger had none in the back of the center counsel or on the sides. There are plenty up front and in the rear of the vehicle. The 110/120 volt plug in the back area would be much more useful if it was a three prong grounded outlet. The USB ports are easily accessible and there are enough to go around, except for the middle seated passengers.

Overall I thought this was a well-equipped and well laid out vehicle that would suit any number of people. If I were to scale it, I would give it a solid nine out of ten. It was pleasant vehicle to drive and it didn’t disappoint me, my passengers or my equipment.

Like to thank Toyota USA for the opportunity to review this vehicle.  Any questions please contact your nearest dealership. 

 

2016 Lexus GX460 Luxury

2016 Lexus GX 460 Luxury

List Price $ 61,515

Price as tested $ 68,765

 

We had opportunity to spend some time with the new Lexus GX 460 Luxury.  This certainly is a BIG vehicle and can only imagine the LX.  This is second to the top model in the Lexus suv line up below the LX and above the NX & RX models. 

 

Taking delivery took me slightly by surprise.  It’s mammoth front grill seem very intimidating that looks good on the lower models but due to how big the vehicle is, I think it’s trying to hard to look like a IS/GS models. It’s a large sport utility vehicle with 3rd row seating.  Something about it didn’t fly well with me but then again Lexus with it’s success in the IS and NX line up has dropped there age geographic. 

 

Vehicle is equipped with a 4.6L 32 valve V8 pushing just over 301hp.  I would have thought it have more power to tow more but it’s enough to pull your small watercraft and or atvs.   This model equipped with crawl mode for those who enjoy taking it to the extreme off roading.  The ride height adjustability is a nice feature too.  I wouldn’t suggest taking it off roading but for those family in bad climate it’s a nice feature.  We were able to take it out of rough roads and did very well.  Vehicle felt under powered and sluggish during acceleration.  

 

The interior is no different than standard Lexus interior.  Small additions to accommodate the extra off roading features and air suspension.  The center dash looks very plain and standard.  Nothing really sticks out to me from other vehicles.  The 8” monitor is easy on the eyes making it effortless on making adjustments.  The suspension controls are just right of the shifter and notifies you on the dash.  Buttons area big and easy to locate which is a plus for those who aren’t tech savvy.  Overall it gets the job done and thats what matters. 

 

The back seats have decent room but in my mind this should have more room but it’s enough for a 6ft tall person to be comfortable.  This model is equipped with rear entertainment monitors located just behind the headrests.  It’s not located in the headrests just in front of it.  Nice that it doesn’t take away from any leg room to the rear passengers.  One thing I did find that those with infant back facing car seats to be careful in reclining the front seats to far.  The back of the infant seat is just leveled to the middle of the rear monitors.  Recommend having a blanket and or cushion to prevent it for rubbing.  

 

The 3rd row seat is motorized.  Easy to control from the rear or side.  There isn’t much room for an adult to sit back there but perfect for kids.  Like most 3rd row vehicles there isn’t much room behind the 3rd row once it’s up.  I sat back in 3rd row and head was hitting the roof.  Might be a rough ride if taking a long trip.  I did have trouble securing the 3rd row tonneau cover.  Once the 3rd row seat is up you can collapse the ends to fit on the floor tide down to floor by straps.  This takes good amount of room. Thought they be a way to secure it under floor board but guess not.  

 

Overall it’s a basic suv.  Nothing really impressed me other than the crawl mode but honestly how often will you be using it?  This particular vehicle will probably never see off roads and used to haul family around the burbs.  Have many great features like lane departure, dynamic radar cruise control, pre-collision sensors and high power audio system by Mark Levinson.  Vehicle drove great around town.  Suspension is really soft but stiff enough for when and if you go of roading.  Gas milage was average.  Did close to what they advertise with 12 mpg in city and 17 on highway.  For the price honestly it’s fair. You are getting a lot of features with an luxury appearance package.  

 

Like to thank Lexus USA for the opportunity to spend time with this vehicle.  For more information please visit your nearest Lexus dealership.