2021 Porsche 718 Boxster GTS 4.0 TEST DRIVE

If you’re like me, the slog of daily driving is enough to send you to therapy. It’s not fun, you’re surrounded by hostiles and more often than not the car is standing still. But a cabriolet such as this will adjust your attitude in a heartbeat. Small, nimble, precise and oozing with emotion, the Boxster – with the top down and the 6-speed in your hand – is the perfect antidote to commuting madness. And this isn’t just any Boxster – it’s the new GTS, positioned above the S and below the Spyder. So what’s the cost for this type of weekend pleasure? Well, it’s not cheap – surprise-surprise – the GTS starts at $26,900 more than a base 718 Boxster at about $91,000. This one – with a shockingly small list of options for a Porsche – checks in at $100,600. One of those extras is the Aventurine Green paint which mostly looks gray until the sun hits it and one of options not here which I would certainly get is Entry and Drive because I’m not into keys anymore.

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2021 VOLKSWAGEN ID.4 TEST DRIVE

The ID.4 is ready for primetime and is the genesis of VW’s all-electric intentions. The ID sub-brand is VW’s name for a family of electric cars that, at least in here in the U.S., is expected to spawn 2 new models over the next 3 years. It’s built upon a dedicated electric vehicle platform that VW calls Modular Electric Drive which essentially gives them one basis for every EV going forward. It closely possesses the passenger volume of VW’s Tiguan just in a smaller wrapper benefitting from the highly efficient EV packaging. It feels wide inside with adult-friendly and nicely sculpted rear seats and a foot-activated hatch that opens to more standard cargo room than VW’s new Taos compact SUV. With an agreeable lift over height, split fold rear seats, an adjustable cargo floor that can be lowered for a little more space or left as is to stow the charge cable, the ID.4 presents itself as a versatile errand companion with which owners will quickly connect. The car I have is the ID.4 1st Edition and it’s priced at $45,190 including destination…but before you run down to your VW dealer you should know that it’s already sold out. However, you can still build and reserve the ID.4 Pro online which is priced at $4,000 less. And if it’s an all-wheel drive ID.4 you’re after, those are coming later this year with a $3,680 premium attached. You can lease an ID.4 for $379/month and all trims qualify for the $7,500 Federal tax credit. The ID.4 is an impressive effort by VW and has proven to be worth the wait.

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2021 LEXUS IS 350 F SPORT TEST DRIVE

Ok, its bark is worse than its bite but the new IS 350 F SPORT with Dynamic Handling Package is an attainable luxury sports sedan that satisfies on a number of fronts. Not the least of which is this sexy new styling. Lexus knows sedans are yesterday’s news so investing tons of money to redesign its trio of 4-doors isn’t going to happen which is why you won’t hear terms such as “all-new” or “redesigned” when it comes to the 2021 IS – the car’s first significant update since it was redesigned in 2014. So don’t go searching for new engines, transmissions or a roomier interior; this is ostensibly the same car as before but better in terms of handling improvements, reduced weight and finally enhanced infotainment controls. And for those reasons Lexus says this IS ushers in the new Lexus Driving Signature – the first in a new generation of Lexus vehicles that is more balanced, refined in control, and confident than ever before. Reducing unsprung mass, enhancing body rigidity, tweaking the shocks for more responsiveness and fitting it with stickier, wider tires has elevated the driving experience of a car that has also shed 154 pounds – now weighing 100 pounds less than a BMW M340i. Lexus aimed to create a compact sports sedan that provides high-quality riding comfort while offering a high level of vehicle control and those attributes are certainly present.

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2021 DODGE CHARGER SRT TEST DRIVE

The Dodge Charger Hellcat: it’s fast but apparently not fast enough. So here we have the Hellcat Redeye – the fastest Charger Dodge has ever built. 797 horsepower. 707 pound-feet of torque. Capable of exceeding 200mph. All prerequisites for a solid family sedan, right? Well, that’s what the Dodge Charger is and, believe it or not, even when spec’d like this, it can still skillfully serve in that manner. The supercharger whine, the insane amounts of power immediately on tap that seem to have no end, the rear end breaking loose on demand, the Redeye is just more of what already makes the Hellcat outrageous. Now the Widebody kit and bigger tires do improve handling but let’s be honest – this car is a boat so as the driver you’ll crave slightly straighter roads. But a car such as this remains a video game fantasy for most – in an era of electrification there won’t be many takers for a Demon-powered Charger. But Dodge and the brotherhood of muscle live in a place where time stands still and only the power seems to change.

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2021 NISSAN ARMADA TEST DRIVE

A significantly updated, body-on-frame, 3-ton SUV that prefers premium gas and nets 15mpg. Meet the new 2021 Armada. I really like what Nissan has done with the updated styling and the new badges and Armada lettering look great. And I watch enough Kids Baking Championship to actually understand this beautiful color’s name: Coulis Red Pear. This big touchscreen with its crisper graphics, wireless phone projection and over the air updates immediately adds some much needed modernity. Likewise, the driver display has been updated and this rear view camera mirror is best I’ve ever seen – so big and crystal clear.
It’s stout, refined and quiet – all traits you’d expect in a luxury SUV. It doesn’t feel trucky at all – the ride is smooth and the handling is more than competent despite the big weight it’s managing – all without any trick suspensions or drive modes which is both impressive and outdated at the same time. MSRP as-tested is $71,250 and that doesn’t get you LED interior lighting or a hands-free liftgate; the latter unavailable at any price. If you can live without some of the newness and unavailable features and aren’t scared off by the gas mileage it’ll save you thousands when compared to a comparable Chevy Tahoe.

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