Author: lacarguy

Lexus is Tops in Reliability for Sixth Year Running

February 22, 2017 lacarguy Lexus Tags: , , , , , ,

By now most Lexus fans know all about the reliability of the brand, or at least the supposed reliability that it has to offer. That’s because companies are constantly going on about the benefits of relying on Lexus. Sure luxury vehicles are more expensive, but the added cost pays off in the case of Lexus thanks to its exceptional dependability. To prove that point further, the luxury brand just received the J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study for the sixth year in a row. If that’s not impressive I don’t know what is.

2017 Lexus ES

Dominating the Dependability Study

Lexus is known as a highly reliable brand, in part because it’s a branch of Toyota, but also because the luxury brand continually dominates reliability tests. According to the J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study, Lexus vehicles have been the most reliable luxury model widely sold throughout the U.S. for the last 6 years. That’s something worth bragging about, and even before Lexus was the top brand, it was still known for its reliability.

How the Study Determines Winner

The dependability study relies on a very simple metric in order to decide which vehicles are the most dependable overall. It looks at the number of reported problems for the vehicles sold, and then compares that figure with the level of vehicles sold. These two figures together lead to an average set of problems per 100 vehicles sold, and that’s the number that J.D. Power uses to determine which vehicles are the most reliable and which are the least.

Individual Lexus Standouts

On top of coming in first place for a luxury brand overall, Lexus also had three different models that scored highest in their respective categories. In the Midsize Premium Car category the Lexus GS came out on top with a score of 94 problems per 100 vehicles, which is actually exceptionally low. The Lexus RX had a similar score with only a small number of more problems per 100 with 105 problems per 100 vehicles on average. The Lexus ES took the luxury compact car segment with ease with just 91 problems per 100 vehicles.

Either Lexus vehicle is exceptionally reliable and worth taking a look at if you are considering buying in the category.

Lexus vehicles might not be the most flashy, or the most powerful of all the luxury models on the market today, but they are the most reliable. For buyers serious about the value of their purchase, and cost of maintenance over time, a Lexus makes a lot of sense compared to the many other luxury options on the market today.

The Audi RS3 Sportback is the Greatest Hatchback to not Come to the US

February 14, 2017 lacarguy Audi Tags: , , , ,

Audi enthusiasts were thrilled when they found out that the Audi RS3 Sport was going to make it to the United States, but there’s a hatchback version of the sports car that will likely never make it over to the states. That’s a huge disappointment because it comes with all the capabilities of the RS3, just with enhanced interior space for storage and seating. It’s the ultimate combination of utility and performance for a really exciting ride.

2015 Audi RS3 Sportback
2015 Audi RS3 Sportback

The Same Power

Just like the RS3, the RS3 Sportback comes with a 2.5 liter engine with 400 HP. It travels from 0 to 62 in a stunning 4.1 seconds, and tops out at up to 174 MPH if you get the option to increase the top speed. It’s an exciting speed machine that’s fit for use on a track.

Beautiful Interior

This sports car comes with more performance-focused bucket seats up front, but it’s outfitted like an upscale luxury model, which is expected of an Audi vehicle. The interior has a clean look, top-notch media setup, and quality interior materials that give the vehicle a beautiful look. The seats are wrapped in black Nappa Leather, and there’s a virtual cockpit where the gauges once were. There’s even a special RS screen that shows off the tire pressure and the overall torque output as well as the g-forces of the vehicle as you whip around a track or any other course.

Enhanced Storage and Interior Space

While the RS3 wasn’t exactly tiny, the RS3 Sportback is outright roomy. It’s equipped with a large hatch that opens up wide to accept a range of bags and other items for storage purposes. The hatchback is exciting to drive, and it comes with all the features that you would expect of an Audi, just with more space to make use of.

The Audi RS3 Sportback looks to be a phenomenal vehicle, it’s a shame that it isn’t going to be offered in the US. It has a lot of potential and would be worth a serious look for anyone wanting power and storage all in one.

Reviewing the Capable and Reliable 2017 Toyota Tundra CrewMax

February 13, 2017 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , ,

The Toyota Tundra was one of the most cutting edge, exciting and biggest full-sized pickups a decade ago. Over the years Toyota has stuck with the working formula and relied largely on an aging platform for it’s full-sized Tundra, while others have moved on. That means the Tundra isn’t as cutting edge today as it once was, but it’s still a capable machine, and it has reliability on its side where others do not.

Exterior-Static
Exterior-Static

Easy Low Speed Maneuvering

The 2017 Toyota Tundra CrewMax is equipped with a hydraulic power steering setup. This gives the wheel a light feel and makes it easy to maneuver overall at low speeds. Adjust the angle of the truck when hitching a trailer, taking sharp corners or backing out of a space are all pleasant experiences because of the steering setup that it relies on.

Simple and Pleasant Shifting

Many of the top modern-day trucks moving down the road today rely on advanced transmissions with as many as 9 or 10 gears. That’s not the case with the 2017 Tundra. It’s still rocking that 6-speed transmission, but that’s not a bad thing in this instance. While many of the newer trucks shift a little rough, or tend to get caught up in gears, this doesn’t happen with the rock-solid Tundra transmission. In fact, it shifts from gear to gear incredibly smoothly and still manages to direct just the right amount of power to the task at hand. So I guess Toyota said don’t fix what isn’t broken.

The Added Safety and Convenience Package

While the 2017 Tundra hasn’t picked up all the standard advanced safety features that Toyota is adding to its vehicles (that will come in the 2018 model year) there are several good quality safety features available if you are willing to invest in the $970 Safety and Convenience addon. This package adds rear parking assist, a front parking assist feature and cross traffic alerts.

Fully Roll Down Rear Window

Most trucks on the road today don’t even allow you to open the cab window, and the ones that do rely on a simple tilt feature that allows air to flow through, but not much else. The Tundra is pretty unique in this regard, because the window in the cab rolls down entirely. This not only improves air flow, but also allows you to put longer items through the window to extend the bed a bit if necessary.

Highly Reliable

While the Tundra might not be as up-to-date as some of the bigger names in the full-sized truck industry, it has something that many of the others do not. Lasting power. The Tundra is a rock solid truck that’s known for its reliability. It will keep rolling down the road long after many of the others are struggling or coming to their untimely deaths. That’s a major benefit of relying on the Tundra. You can rely on it to do all the work you throw at it without keeling over and croaking like some other vehicles might.

The 2017 Tundra looks a bit dated, it lacks some of the features offered by the other brands, but it’s a good value, it delivers in every area that’s important and it’s one of the most reliable of the bunch. If you need a good solid work truck to get the job done, there are few options that best the Tundra.

 

 

The 2017 Subaru Outback Versus the 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

February 10, 2017 lacarguy Volkswagen Tags: , , , , ,

If you thought that station wagons went out of style a long time ago, you would be wrong. While the cars may have dipped in popularity over the decades, it’s still going strong, as evidenced by the success of the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack and the Subaru Outback. Both vehicles are quite capable, which makes deciding between them even more difficult. Here’s an overview of both vehicles and what they have to offer. Hopefully after reading through this review you’ll be able to pick the option that makes the most sense for you.

2017 golf alltrack

Looks

Wagon buyers may or may not care about the appearance of their vehicle. There are two distinct looks offered depending on what type of look you are going for. If you want to embrace the station wagon look and go for a vehicle that’s clearly a wagon, the Subaru Outback is for you. If you just want the utility of a wagon, without having to take on the look of one, the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack looks more like a little SUV than it does a station wagon. It accomplishes this altered look with a slightly lifted body, fender flares and careful roof sculpting that offers an SUV appearance.

2017 Subaru Outback

Towing Capability

One area that the Outback edges out the Alltrack is in towing power. The Alltrack isn’t recommended for any type of towing task, while the Outback can handle up to 3,000 lbs. If you’re hoping to tow a trailer the Outback is likely the best option.

On-Road Handling

The Golf Alltrack is the more capable of the two vehicles when you hop onto an actual road. It corners readily, feels smooth over most surfaces, has plenty of power and is just plain fun to drive around. The Outback feels clunky in comparison and doesn’t offer the nice tight performance that the Golf does. We can only assume it’s because the Alltrack is based on the very capable Golf Sportwagon that’s a blast to drive around. Manual lovers should also consider the fact that manual isn’t offered on the Outback but is an option on the Alltrack.

Spacious Outback

Station wagons are supposed to be all about space and utility and few wagons do it better than the Subaru Outback. It offers more legroom, more interior space and a bit more rear storage space than the Golf Alltrack does. This doesn’t mean it’s better, but it does mean you can cram a bit more gear into the back, which is good for outdoor lovers looking to squeeze stuff in every little bit of space available.

An Upscale Interior

The Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is finished with nicer materials and has a more upscale or luxury look to it than the Outback. The Outback has a more utilitarian look. It’s plain and makes it more of a utility vehicle than anything else. For some people that’s an appealing feature, but others will not like that aspect of the Outback so much.

For most people it really isn’t that difficult choosing between the Golf Alltrack and the Outback. The Outback is a rugged outdoorsy, spacious utilitarian wagon that’s meant for more difficult tasks. It isn’t as showy or nice looking, and that’s fine for the right person. It can be a bit dull to drive around though. The Golf Alltrack is nicer to look at, it’s appointed with better materials and more comfortable seats. It’s more fun to drive and has that manual shift option that’s going to win over plenty of enthusiasts. It’s a bit smaller within and doesn’t offer the rugged off-road performance as much. Pick the one that makes the most sense to you.

The 2018 Lexus LS is More Capable Thanks to Serious Engineering Enhancements

February 9, 2017 lacarguy Lexus Tags: , , , ,

Lexus is always looking for ways to improve on its vehicles, and that’s true for its flagship LS more than any other. The automaker took special engineering measures to make the LS more capable than ever. It’s stronger, safer, more spacious, lighter and faster, all from some serious engineering tweaks throughout.

2017 lexus ls

Added Room

Lexus is always looking for ways to expand the interior space of its automobiles, but it’s important to avoid making the vehicles bulkier in the process. The automaker managed to keep bulk to a minimum, while increasing interior space of its 2018 Lexus by relying on more durable high-strength steel products. The vehicle is actually lighter and more spacious, a pretty impressive combination.

Shedding the Pounds

In order to cut away approximately 200 lbs. from the vehicle, Lexus made use of high-strength tensile steel in several sections of the body of the LS. The steels are used throughout the body and frame of the vehicle to do away with bulkier metals that were once required to support the vehicle. Lexus also implemented an aluminum hood and trunk lid to cut down on weight even more. The overall result is that the vehicle is lighter, faster and more spacious overall.

Aluminum Supports a Safer Frame

Not only will the next LS be lighter, but it will also be safer as it tries to come out with higher scares on the next crash test. Lexus is making heavy use of aluminum webbing throughout the structure of the LS to add to its strength. The chassis benefits from suspension towers at both the front and rear.

All these changes should make the LS better than ever before and will give owners something to be proud of in their vehicles. Sure the lighter body, the greater interior space and the added safety won’t stand out as much as design changes would, but these improvements are the things that really matter most.

Toyota has Sold more than 10 Million Hybrids

February 8, 2017 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , ,

As of January 31 Toyota managed to sell more than 10 million hybrid cars to people around the world. That’s a major milestone that hasn’t been matched by any other automaker and we think that it’s a good sign for the future of the environment. The Toyota Prius didn’t start off as a popular vehicle and it took time to catch on, but now the name is almost synonymous with hybrid vehicles, and if you see a Prius rolling down the road you know that it’s an efficient ride. That’s something that Toyota is proud of and something that the automaker is trying to replicate with its hydrogen fuel cell vehicle as well.

2017 toyota prius prime plugin

An Early Start

The very first Toyota Prius came out nearly 20 years ago in 1997. Back then it was just an experimental vehicle and Toyota wasn’t sure if it was going to take off. Over the years the Prius has grown in popularity and it’s been the leading hybrid car all along.

The Benefits of Driving Toyota Hybrids

It’s estimated by Toyota that Toyota and Lexus hybrid owners have managed to keep 77 million tons of CO2 emissions out of the atmosphere by driving their cleaner and more efficient vehicles. Not only that, but the vehicles have saved about 8 million gallons of gas compared to driving around more average vehicles. That’s a pretty impressive feat, but it’s just a start to what Toyota, and many other automakers want to achieve now. Toyota will continue to roll out more efficient hybrid vehicles while it pushes ahead with new technological tools and features. It’s likely that we’ll eventually move past fossil fuels entirely, but until that time comes, the Prius will be an excellent option to consider when you want to use less fuel and drive around more efficiently.

The 2017 Audi A6 Combines Beauty, Power and Capability in One

February 6, 2017 lacarguy Audi Tags: , , ,

Audi has made a name for itself out of creating beautiful vehicles that perform beautifully, and the 2017 Audi A6 fits right into that mold. It responds nicely, has plenty of power, looks gorgeous and has more than enough features to satisfy most drivers. Read on for a more detailed look at the different features.

2017 Audi A6

Beautiful Interior

It’s expected that Audi vehicles will look luxurious and beautiful within, and the 2017 A6 doesn’t disappoint in that regard. The seats are coated with a supple leather, the interior is coated with beautiful walnut wood, the rear seat is nice and spacious for a few adults or three children to lounge, and the interior has the nice clean look that Audi enthusiasts love. Overall it’s obvious that you’re in a luxury vehicle while inside the A6, which is just what I like to see.

Striking Exterior

Audi’s are always styled nicely on the outside, but they are generally quite reserved. The A6 comes with standard 18-inch wheels but the Sport package will push those wheels up to a more impressive 19-inch construction. The car shows off smooth lines with just enough aggressive creases to give it a sporty look. The car comes standard with LED taillights and Xenon headlights.

Holy Power

Sure the car looks nice, but what stood out most during the testing was all the power that the vehicle offers. It’s packed to the brim with raw power and energy, and it offers it up so smoothly that you won’t  feel the need to hold back at all. That means you can slam down on the gas and make full use of all 252 HP that the car comes with. The 4-cylinder turbo engine is efficient, and you’ll transition from low power to high up thanks to the silky 8-speed transmission. If the standard power isn’t enough for you, there’s also an option to bump it up to a V6 with 333 HP or you can go nuts with a 450 HP V8, but I was impressed with the performance of the base engine option. The car comes with a variety of drive select modes, allowing you to tune performance for speed or efficiency. IT can travel from 0 to 60 in about 6 seconds with the base engine, which is more than fast enough for most people.

Cool Safety Tech

Audi isn’t Audi without at least a few fancy tech features, and this car comes with its fair share of them. It has a Five star overall crash and safety rating thanks to a very complex airbag system that includes protection at the sides and front of the vehicle. The seats feature the LATCH system in the rear, and there’s a bunch of cool safety features in the Driver Assistance package.

If you opt for the package you’ll enjoy Lane Assist, that lets you know when you leave your lane. There’s also an Adaptive Cruise control feature that will help you remain at speed with the cars ahead of you so that you don’t have to shut off cruise when someone slows down. There’s even a high beam assistant and a top view camera that comes with distance sensors for easy driving in tight quarters. Overall the 2017 Audi A6 is very capable when it comes to safety features.

If you are looking for a mid-sized sedan that packs power, comfort, beauty and tech features under one roof, the A6 is a good bet.

Toyota Awards Japanese Prime Owners with Electric Incentives

February 6, 2017 lacarguy Uncategorized Tags: , , ,

The Prius Prime was released to give Toyota drivers the ability to drive without using any gasoline at all. The vehicle has a decent all-electric driving range and can make around-town commuting more affordable for drivers that take the time to charge up the Prius while at home. Unfortunately too many people are driving without charging the vehicle, or at least that’s what Toyota is finding. In order to increase the amount of home charging that’s going on, Toyota is teaming up with local electric companies throughout Japan in order to offer an incentive to Prius Prime owners. This incentive encourages them to drive around on electricity alone, and should improve air quality over time.

2017 prius prime

Electric Points

Toyota teemed up with five different local utility companies in Japan to offer special points to drivers that utilize electric-only power much of the time that they are driving around in the Prius Prime. These drivers will earn special points that they can cash in to help pay their power bill, or to buy special products with. It’s an exciting incentive program for the drivers that qualify for it, and should help give drivers a reason to try and avoid gasoline as much as possible.

Safe Driving Credits

The electric credits is not the only time that Toyota teamed up with outside companies to incentivize certain activities for its owners. The automaker also offered coffee credits for safe drivers a while back. Texting while driving is pretty dangerous, most of us realize that now, but the realization isn’t enough to keep all drivers from doing so anyways. That’s why Toyota teamed up with some companies over in Japan to encourage drivers to stop texting while behind the wheel. The system relies on an app that must be running while traveling down the road. Drivers can track their mileage without texting and will earn credit toward free coffee as they drive. It’s a simple system, but one that ended up helping drivers travel more than 1.6 million miles text-free.

These measures that Toyota is taking are great steps toward safer driving practices. They show that the automaker is responsible and they display a real concern for healthy driving practices.

The 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is a Winner for Sure

February 3, 2017 lacarguy Volkswagen Tags: , , ,

The Volkswagen Alltrack is an interesting vehicle that has quite a bit going for it. It represents a renewed interest in station wagons that’s going around the US and the hatchback is worth a look at. We were impressed by its speed, handling characteristics and overall quality when reviewing it.

2018 Golf Alltrack

Firm and Capable Handling

The Alltrack comes equipped with all-wheel drive and offers reliable traction in most standard driving conditions. That means if you are driving over dirt, snow or uneven paved surfaces you should have all the traction you need to keep moving effectively. It’s equipped with a solid suspension without much wiggle that offers a very planted feel, and the vehicle is blessed with very minimal body roll, making cornering a dream.

Quick and Smooth Acceleration

While you probably won’t pick up the Alltrack because you want a quick vehicle, this station wagon is surprisingly fast off the line. It travels from 0 to 60 in just 8.5 seconds and comes with a very capable 170 HP turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The engine is tied to a 6-speed dual clutch setup that’s nice and smooth throughout the gear range. Acceleration is silky smooth and going from starting to highway speed is a treat in this wagon.

Capable Safety System

Safety is becoming increasingly complex and important in modern-day vehicles. Which is why it’s such good news that the Alltrack comes with an available Driver Assistance Package that’s well worth the investment. With the purchase you get a capable adaptive cruise setup that will make sure you’re always going the right speed while on the highway. You’ll get emergency braking that triggers automatically in serious situations, and a forward-collision alert system that lets you know when potential problems are on the horizon. All these features together, along with the pretty standard safety features built into the vehicle, makes it a nice safe ride to take around on the roads.

Peaceful Interior

Road noise is the last thing that you want to deal with while traveling down the highway, and it’s not an issue with the 2017 Alltrack. This vehicle comes with ample sound-proofing, leaving you with a nice quiet interior that dulls down all those exterior sounds nicely. There’s decent room at the front of the vehicle and the seats are supremely comfortable, though things are a bit cramped in back.

The 2017 Volkswagen Alltrack offers a nice mixture of speed, handling mechanics, safety and comfort, making it a good all around hatch for buyers interested in that sort of thing. It’s a good ride, and surprisingly fun to drive around as well.

News and World Reports Names Toyota Prius Best Hybrid Value

February 2, 2017 lacarguy Uncategorized Tags: , , , , ,

When most people think of a hybrid vehicle the first one that comes to mind is the Toyota Prius. That’s because it’s the biggest success story when it comes to hybrids. It was one of the first hybrids released and the first real success story in the segment. While there are plenty of other hybrid options out on the market today, the 2017 Toyota Prius remains the best value for the money when purchasing a hybrid vehicle according to News and World Report’s comparison. That means that if you are looking for a hybrid to lower your environmental impact, to cut your gas costs or just to avoid using as much fuel as you once did, the Toyota Prius is likely one of your very best options.

2017 toyota prius

How Winners are Chosen

News and World Report gives out awards to vehicles in 20 different categories and there is a strict comparison technique that the company relies on to select the winners of the contest. To decide which vehicles are the best value, the company looks at the initial price of the vehicle, as well as the total cost of ownership over a five-year stretch. With these two figures it is a simple matter deciding which vehicle is the best value of the bunch.

Affordable and Efficient

The Toyota Prius is known for its efficiency and there are models that average around 55 MPG in city driving conditions today. That’s an impressive figure, and that’s not all the automobile has going for it. Compared to other hybrids on the market, the Toyota Prius is surprisingly affordable. At between $25,000 and $30,000 the Prius is easy for most people to purchase and something that the average homeowner would have no trouble buying.

Spacious and Well-Appointed

The Prius isn’t known for being a luxury vehicle, but that doesn’t stop it from being well-equipped, spacious and nice-looking within. Inside the vehicle you’ll find all the standard features that you expect from a modern vehicle, plus a bunch of active safety features that will help keep you safe while out on the road. The vehicle also comes with plenty of interior space for five people to sit comfortably. There’s ample trunk space in the back, allowing you to pack clothes for a trip or head to the grocery store and do some shopping.

Decent Handling

Sure, the Prius isn’t a sports car, but that doesn’t matter. The Toyota Prius has over 120 HP thanks to the two electric motors and the small gasoline engine. The two electric motors rev up and get the vehicle off to a smooth start from a standstill quickly and effectively. The vehicle isn’t going to win any races, but it doesn’t feel sluggish and handles pretty nicely.

Overall the Toyota Prius is a solid vehicle with a lot to offer in the value department. If you want an efficient car that isn’t going to use much gasoline, the Toyota Prius is still the king of the hybrids and pretty hard to pass up.