2021 LEXUS LC 500 CONVERTIBLE TEST DRIVE BY CAR CRITIC STEVE HAMMES. After 2+ decades of driving new cars each week, I admit, you can get pretty jaded. So it’s rarer now that I get really wowed when a car is delivered but that’s happening right now. I mean, just look at this thing. The LC is already a gorgeous car but make it a convertible and paint it red like this and all of a sudden I’m a teenager again at Spencer Gift’s buying the poster because the Lexus LC 500 Convertible is as close as it gets to a rolling piece of art.
the LC is not a sports car…this is a grand tourer in the greatest sense. This is all about a beautiful autumn day, top down, companion in the passenger seat, neck heater blowing, and the intoxicating sounds of the V8. The huge 21” wheels and high performance tires ding the ride quality a bit and overall the suspension doesn’t feel as sophisticated as you would like so driving it with verve is more pleasing when the road isn’t too twisty. I love convertibles and the showier the better. And this Lexus makes for the ideal sunny skies weekender as long as you can handle all of the attention.
Honda CR-V 2020 QUICK TAKES
The refreshed 2020 Honda CR-V, an updated take on America’s most popular crossover, is in dealerships with a refreshed exterior design, new and upgraded features, and a new turbocharged powertrain for the popular LX trim, along with standard Honda Sensing® technologies on all grades. With cumulative U.S. sales now topping the 5-million-unit mark, the 2020 model looks to extend CR-V’s position as the best-selling crossover in America over the past 22 years.
The 2020 CR-V goes on sale with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price starting at $25,0501 (excluding destination and handling charges) for the front-wheel-drive LX model, an increase of just $600 despite the addition of Honda Sensing and a more powerful and efficient 1.5-liter turbocharged engine to the LX trim. An all-new, even more powerful and fuel-efficient hybrid-electric CR-V will join the lineup early next year.
All 2020 CR-Vs benefit from new front and rear exterior styling cues, including a redesigned front bumper and grille, and new headlight designs. EX and EX-L trims also get redesigned alloy wheels, while Touring grades get new 19-inch (+1 in.) wheels and tires. The 2020 model also debuts three new exterior colors: Radiant Red Metallic, Sonic Gray Pearl, and Aegean Blue Pearl.
Inside, CR-V’s spacious and tech-savvy cabin gets a redesigned center console with more conveniently located USB ports and more flexible storage space, while the line-topping CR-V Touring adds a heated steering wheel and wireless smartphone charging.
Mechanically, the biggest change to the 2020 CR-V is the addition of the 1.5-liter turbocharged direct-injected engine for the popular LX trim, which replaces a 2.4-liter naturally aspirated engine. For the LX, this means more power (+6 horsepower), a flatter torque curve (179 lb.-ft. @ 2000-5000 rpm vs. 180 lb.-ft. @ 3900 rpm) and a higher EPA fuel economy rating (+2 mpg city/highway/combined).
Importantly, the CR-V LX also gets Honda Sensing® safety and driver-assistive technologies as standard equipment, extending these popular features throughout the CR-V lineup.
Reservations for the ID.4 start online today with 50-state launch in early 2021
MSRP starts at $39,995 for ID.4 Pro before potential $7,500 Federal tax credit
Estimated 250 miles of range on ID.4 1st Edition
Compact SUV will be available in rear-wheel drive 201-hp 82 kWh (launching first) and all-wheel-drive 302-hp 82 kWh configurations
Three years of fast charging with Electrify America at no additional cost
Modern design pairs with high-tech features, like DRIVE® advanced driver assistance technology and a smart infotainment system, using voice and touch
Localized production in Chattanooga, starting in 2022 with anticipated MSRP around $35,000
Volkswagen of America, Inc. revealed the all-new ID.4 electric SUV today—the brand’s first long-range EV to be sold stateside. This compact SUV will offer all the best features of Volkswagen’s current lineup—hallmark driving dynamics, bold design, and advanced technology—along with long-range EV capability and three years of fast charging with Electrify America for no additional cost, to customers in the largest segment in the U.S., all with a price point aimed at the heart of the segment.
“The ID.4 was engineered, loaded and priced to win the hearts of SUV owners who are simply ready to go electric—and fall in love with Volkswagen again,” said Scott Keogh, CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. “It drives like a GTI, it has the packaging of a Tiguan and the purpose of the Beetle. All the best things about VW in one package.”
Pricing for the ID.4 starts at $39,995, for the rear-wheel-drive ID.4 Pro (available in the first quarter of 2021), before a potential Federal tax credit of up to $7,500 is applied. With those credits, the entry price of ID.4 is on par with the 2021 Tiguan SEL. For highly qualified customers through Volkswagen Credit, the monthly lease payment for a 36-month lease with 10,000 miles a year, is $379 per month with $3,579 due at signing, excluding tax, title, license, options and dealer fees.
Starting later in 2021, the ID.4 AWD Pro ($43,695) will be available. Both Pro models carry largely the same equipment, with AWD models putting out 302 hp, and adding a heated windshield and tow hitch. These models can be additionally outfitted with two packages—Statement ($4,500), and Gradient ($1,500), which is only offered with Statement.
The ID.4 launches with a limited-run ID.4 1st Edition (MSRP $43,995). The 1st Edition models feature the same content as the Pro model, and Statement package (minus illuminated VW logo) and Gradient package come standard. These models also include unique features including accelerator and brake pedals with “play” and “pause” logos, the steering wheel and column, radio bezel and door island finished in Electric White, 1st Edition badging, black mirror caps, and a tow hitch.
2020 PORSCHE 911 CARRERA S TEST DRIVE BY CAR CRITIC STEVE HAMMES. When you’re really passionate about something you dive deep into your desires. If you’re an audiophile you’ll pick up on every nuance of the speakers, or if you’re a watch collector you’ll have intimate knowledge of its inner workings. And that’s what buying a Porsche is like; it’s a car for the driver who appreciates exactness and demands the best no matter the cost.
The priciest options on this tester are the Black/Bordeaux Red leather interior, the Adaptive Sport Seats with memory, the Sport Package which includes the exhaust, the front axle lift system to keep that chin off the ground, the rear axle steering and the Bose sound system. As-tested, this car comes in at $137,570 and features new easier to control touchscreen infotainment with wireless CarPlay and other innovative features.
At face value you could say it’s just another Silver 911…but its added muscularity and new lighting design give it the subtle newness you’re looking for while retaining its unmistakable silhouette.
2020 Toyota Prius XLE AWD-e TEST DRIVE BY CAR CRITIC STEVE HAMMES. New for the 2020 model year is a 7” touchscreen on specific trims such as this higher end XLE model, Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa integration on all grades as well as putting the Toyota Safety Sense P system in all cars. The all-wheel drive option comes in 2 trims: LE and like here XLE. Pricing starts at around $28,000 while this one with the Advanced Technology Package including a heads-up display and swiveling headlamps, checks in at $31,429. So in 2020 is the Prius still relevant?