2021 INFINITI Q50 RED SPORT TEST DRIVE

Red Sport is the name Infiniti gives to its highest performing cars and when it comes to the Q50 it’s definitely the 400-horsepower twin-turbo V6 that you want.  Here’s what you need to know when shopping the 2021 model.  
Infiniti is a brand in transition with its final destination planned to be more Nissan+ and less luxury which means rear-wheel drive platforms, longitudinal engines and geared transmissions might soon be a thing of the past.  So it’s no time to sleep on their only sports sedan that possesses all of those attributes; the Q50 Red Sport 400.  I’ve always kind of had a thing for this car and even though it’s not getting any younger, it remains an intriguing alternative.  Yes, it requires a suspension of disbelief to think that it’s wholly better than say an M340i for nearly the same price, but if you relish driving something you’re unlikely to encounter another one of on your travels – unlike the BMW – then it’s worth entertaining.  And one key attraction of the Q50 is its style. 
The Q50 offers more passenger and cargo volume than the new 3 Series, as well so there’s that.  Mine is up fitted with USB charge ports in the rear – a place that feels just as comfy as that in the front.  A benefit of the car’s age is its simplistic controls – there’s nothing to confuse you here and the dual screen infotainment setup is easy to work and supports phone projection – just not wirelessly.  It’s an eye-catching interior with gorgeous seats, red stitching, metal speaker grilles for the powerful Bose sound system and matte black carbon fiber.  The touchpoints feel legit, as well.  And all of the safety goodies come standard and are more easily configurable than they used to be so if there’s something you don’t like – such as lane departure warning – you can kill it while leaving the other features turned on.  And you know I love having the around view monitor button right here where it can be quickly accessed.  All told, this one stickers for $63,611 while returning thirsty gas mileage of 22mpg in combined driving on premium.  
It’s not going to wow you with the latest bells and whistles, but this Red Sport looks sharp, is exciting to drive and sounds just as fun all the while providing 4 season drivability with room for 4.      

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2021 TOYOTA SIENNA FIRST LOOK

Toyota’s infamously long product cadence has caused the Sienna to slide all the way to the 4th spot in minivan sales. That may not sound bad until you realize there are only 5 of them on the market. But going on sale this November is an all-new 2021 Sienna Toyota hopes can challenge the segment-leading Chrysler Pacifica. How will it accomplish this? Well, though they no longer own the market with it the Sienna continues to offer all-wheel drive – a big plus in the snowbelt – but here’s the headline: all models will be hybrids. Not a plug-in like the Pacifica, mind you, but a battery-motor- engine deal nevertheless. 245 horsepower and 36mpg is the hook Toyota hopes can reel you in. with this new model strategy. It’s an all-new vehicle from the ground up, elevating the Swagger Wagon look with a fresh design and new features Toyota says make this the most sophisticated, versatile and enjoyable Sienna ever. Engineers focused on reducing noises in the frequencies where conversation takes place, while also mitigating the feeling that you’re driving a bus by using what they call the Bridge Console, ergonomically positioned high with lots of storage, helping to alleviate stress and boost driver comfort. And then there are a host of other convenience features that have become minivan staples such as kick open and close sliding doors, sliding 2nd row captain’s chairs, modern connectivity but not wireless phone projection, Driver Easy Speak, and a vacuum. Above and beyond good stuff like a digital rearview mirror, head-up display, bird’s eye view camera and a refrigerator give the Sienna some distinction. Pricing for the very base FWD Sienna LE with its 8 passenger seating and stowable middle seat starts at $35,635 including delivery while a 7-seat AWD Platinum checks in at $51,635.

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2020 LEXUS RC 350 F SPORT AWD REVIEW

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.    

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2020 Genesis G90 Review

2020 Genesis G90 AWD 3.3T Premium Review By Car Critic Steve Hammes.
Though it left the Hyundai nest 4 years ago, the Genesis brand and its wing-type emblem are still a bit of an enigma. I can tell from the stares that people aren’t quite sure what they’re looking at. And with a thoroughly reworked body and head-turning wheels, the refreshed G90 is a curiosity worthy of attention.
Loaded with modern safety tech with some brief hands-off driving capability, everything on this Genesis G90 AWD 3.3T Premium is standard with a very becoming MSRP of $75,695, especially when you consider the no-cost valet services and Genesis’s 4th consecutive 1st place finish in JD Power’s Initial Quality Study.  If you’re not a slave to the badge, the G90 is a smart alternative to the expensive stalwarts.  

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2020 TOYOTA HIGHLANDER QUICK TAKES

2020 TOYOTA HIGHLANDER QUICK TAKES.
The fourth-generation Toyota Highlander brings a new level of bold, distinctive design to a foundation built on safety, comfort, quality, durability and reliability. The Highlander gas model and the Highlander hybrid are available at dealerships now!

Just as the first RAV4 launched the compact crossover SUV segment 22 years ago, the original Highlander redefined the midsize family SUV when it arrived in 2001. At a time when most midsize SUVs were truck-based, the Highlander’s unibody structure with four-wheel independent suspension quickly became the template for a new segment of more comfortable and family-friendly SUVs. After adding a third row, the Highlander not only grew in size, but is also now the best-selling retail model in the segment since 2016.

Now, the 2020 Highlander amplifies all qualities while taking on a dramatic new design direction that combines a powerful SUV presence with sophisticated detailing.

The new sophisticated SUV sits on a new vehicle platform called Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA-K). This robust new foundation, shared with other Toyota models, enables even greater capability, comfort and safety than before.

The fourth-generation Highlander offers the choice between a powerful V6 or new-generation hybrid powertrain, with the gas version offering up to a manufacturer-estimated 24 MPG combined fuel economy and the Hybrid offering up to a manufacturer-estimated 36 combined MPG.

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