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?
Jeep continues to expand the Wrangler’s portfolio by adding a plug-in hybrid for the 2021 model year. The 4-door Wrangler 4xe adds yet another powertrain choice to the various gas and diesel offerings.
And this one is a torque monster – something off-roaders crave – producing 470 pound-feet from its electrified powertrain. Recharge the 400-volt battery pack situated below the rear seats and the 4Xe provides up to 25 miles of pure electric driving. Want to preserve that quiet, zero-emission propulsion for the trail? Select the E-Save drive mode and bottle it up for later use. Otherwise, once all of the juice has been squeezed, the 4xe runs as a typical gas-electric hybrid, leaning on its 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo to produce a combined 375 horsepower working through an 8-speed auto with an integrated electric motor. Jeep estimates that the 4xe’s gas mileage will be the same as that of a Toyota Prius. The full-time 4-wheel drive transfer case provides all of the options you want; including 2WD and automatic 4-wheel drive settings to compliment the usual 4H and 4L modes. And if you think this is a fragile Jeep you can’t take deep into enemy territory, think again. All high-voltage bits are sealed and waterproof so it can ford the same 30” of water and underneath you’ll see the same Dana 44 axles and skid plates while the Rubicon has an electronic sway-bar disconnect and nearly 11” of ground clearance. Base 4xe and Sahara models are also offered and we’ll know more about pricing as the 4xe’s December on-sale date grows closer.
2021 Volvo V60 Cross Country Review By Car Critic Steve Hammes. Volvo’s smallest and most affordable wagon has recently received the brand’s Cross Country treatment, meaning it rides higher, is driven by all 4 wheels and possesses a look that takes it into crossover territory. Volvo’s styling game is completely on point, particularly with their car lineup and this is one sharp-looking wagon, accentuated by metallic Crystal White paint and optional 19” wheels. It looks like nothing else on the road and that’s not an easy claim these days.
2020 LEXUS RC 350 F SPORT AWD REVIEW BY TESTDRIVENOW CAR CRITIC STEVE HAMMES. The RC possesses that unique blend of Lexus luxury in its ride quality with a spirited character that’ll have you seeking the long way home. Coupe owners, obviously, crave fun and driving precision and the RC provides that without any white knuckle drama as it sticks to the road with all-wheel drive grip and the benefit of the F SPORT-tuned Adaptive Variable Suspension. Dial into the highest Sport S + drive mode and gear shifts happen faster, the steering is firmer, and the suspension less yielding. But to get the most out of the experience, use the paddle shifters otherwise the 6-speed can feel tardy. And even though from out here the RC doesn’t sound like much, Lexus has created a convincing soundtrack for those inside…it really works quite well. All-season tires make sense on this trim I suppose, but a more aggressive set of rubber would help scrub out some of this understeer as you attack a corner.