2019 TOYOTA AVALON QUICK TAKES

For its fifth generation, Avalon received an all-encompassing makeover by Toyota’s U.S.-based design, engineering, and manufacturing entities at Calty Design Research Inc. (Calty) in Ann Arbor, Michigan; Toyota Motor North America Research and Development (TMNA R&D) in Saline, Michigan; and Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. (TMMK) in Georgetown, Kentucky, respectively. Spearheaded by Chief Engineer, Randy Stephens, and Calty President, Kevin Hunter, the brain trust masterminded an Avalon that represents multilateral progressiveness – for itself, its diverse group of drivers, and, for Toyota.
The teams minded two keywords throughout their development paradigm: Authenticity and Exhilaration. Both were applied in every area of Avalon’s sophisticated essence, and throughout the four available grades: the athletic XSE (all-new) and Touring, as well as the more opulent XLE and Limited. HV grades include XLE, Limited, and XSE.

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2019 GENESIS G70 REVIEW

Many still don’t know the Genesis brand despite the fact that they’ve been selling 2 different nameplates for a couple of years now – both top notch luxury sedans, one of which comes in a delectable Sport trim. But this car is the one designed for you drivers out there – it’s their sportiest and most affordable – the all-new G70.

The Genesis brand launched late in 2016 and it’s still learning to fly, having left the Hyundai nest for its own retail space but in limited numbers. The nearest dealership to me is over 45 miles away.  And in an SUV world they don’t offer a single one.  In recent years, luxury automakers measured their coolness by their compact sports sedans.  That’s no longer the case but having a car that starts at under $40,000 is important and the G70 could be the car that gets the metal moving.  Why?  Because it’s rear-wheel drive, still offers a stick and most of all, has an exclusive allure that has captured the attention of car enthusiasts.

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2019 Ford F150 Raptor Review

About 2 years ago an all-new Raptor was born, feeding on rock and mud like never before. We tested it in wide array of conditions and from tarmac to trail the Raptor never disappointed. But Ford thinks they can make things even better so for 2019 the Raptor receives a trio of upgrades.

MSRP as-tested: $71,985

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2019 Mazda CX 9 Review

The family’s growing. The kids have friends and sports no longer have an off-season. You’re in the market for a 3-row SUV. Sure, the neighbors all have Pilots and Highlanders but you go your own way. And that’s where Mazda fits in with the CX-9; a distinctly unique take on the family mobile.

MSRP as-tested: $49,230

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2019 LEXUS UX REVIEW

The model I’m running around in this week is the UX 200 Luxury with front-wheel drive and a handful of options leading to an MSRP of $41,560. As compared with the base UX, the Luxury adds a power rear hatch with kick sensor for hands-free operation, driver’s side memory settings, a blind spot monitor and much more to give its occupants a complete premium experience.  Utilizing a new 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that delivers more power and better fuel efficiency than the Toyota powerplant, the UX is rated at 169 horsepower and 152 pound-feet of torque while using a trick CVT that’s engineered to behave more like a traditional automatic transmission with 10 simulated gears.  In the urban environment for which it in intended, the driving experience is quite agreeable with enough grunt to move things along when needed, crisp steering and a chassis that profits from lightweight materials and a low center of gravity to imbue the UX with a dialed-in agility.  The fully independent suspension delivers a welcome feeling of driver control while preserving a Lexus-level of comfort.  It’s also quiet but not to the typically high Lexus standard…you’ll actually hear some road noise in here.  It’s sized so neatly that maneuvering in traffic and finding suitable parking is a breeze…one of the best parts of owning a small car.  And if the Cadmium Orange paint didn’t already awaken the senses this Glazed Caramel interior certainly will. It’s in here where this UX comes closest to earning its asking price – beautiful to the eye as well as the touch, with synthetic leather that is soft and feels like the real deal.  It’s a driver focused cockpit with an optional heads-up display, cool graphics and a new twist on an old theme

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