8.13.2018

Redefining Mid-Price Luxury: The 2018 Volkswagen Passat V6 SEL Premium

Front 3/4 view of 2018 Volkswagen Passat V6 SEL Premium
The 2018 Volkswagen Passat V6 SEL Premium.
Around 1980, Los Angeles Magazine did a comparison chart of old money versus new money, where people would live, what kind of watch they would own, what car they would drive, etc.  "New Money" was a red Mercedes-Benz 450 SL.  "Old Money" was a midnight blue four-door Honda Accord.

I was reminded of that chart during my week in the 2018 Volkswagen Passat V6 SEL Premium, because, to me, it's the perfect  blend of the virtues of a 1980 Benz (though not the SL) and the early Honda Accords.

8.06.2018

Back On Top (for now): The 2018 Lincoln Navigator 4X4 Black Label

Front 3/4 view of 2018 Lincoln Navigator 4X4 Black Label
The 2018 Lincoln Navigator 4X4 Black Label.
Fifty years ago (!), the folks at Motor Trend had an annual battle they called "King of the Hill", in which they pitted the Lincoln Continental Mark III (and later IV) against the Cadillac Eldorado. The object was to see which was the pinnacle of American luxury, and, to be honest, American and perhaps global excess.

Well, the more things change, the more they stay the same.  The battleground for American luxury is no longer found in two-door coupes, but in massive SUVs.  And the two players are, in 2018, still Lincoln and Cadillac.  In 2017, Lincoln wasn't a player, selling the positively ancient last-gen Navigator.  But for '18, the all-new Navigator lands while Caddy is still preparing the next-generation Escalade.

7.25.2018

Pictures Don't Do It Justice: The 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0T SEL Premium

Front 3/4 view of 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 T SEL Premium
The 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0T SEL Premium.
We all know those people who are good-looking but can't seem to take a good picture. 

That's the story of the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan.  In photos, it looks somewhat featureless, almost generic.  In person, though, the lines flow, the proportions are just right.  There are details, some of them downright elegant. And, the really good news is that it's just as interesting once you're at the wheel.

7.23.2018

More Than Just One Big Boat: The 2018 Nissan Armada Platinum Reserve 4WD

Front 3/4 view of 2018 Nissan Armada Platinum Reserve 4WD
The 2018 Nissan Armada Platinum Reserve 4WD.
Webster's defines "armada" as "a fleet of warships".  Nissan's largest SUV kinda comes off that way.  Describing it as a "boat" somehow feels inadequate. 

That's both bad and good.  Bad because it looks and feels like something from an earlier era of SUV, one before the double-whammy of the recession and high gas prices ten years ago prompted redesigns of full-size SUVs that emphasized (relative) lightness and efficiency.  Good, because, in this era of car-based crossovers, anyone who longs for the good old days of a truck-based full-sized rig will likely have the Armada on his or her short list.

7.16.2018

Turns Out There Is A Substitute For Cubic Inches: The 2018 Ford Mustang Ecoboost Coupe Premium

Front 3/4 view of 2018 Ford  Mustang Ecoboost  Coupe Premium
The 2018 Ford Mustang Ecoboost Coupe Premium.
My son-in-law-to-be wanted to know about the Triple Yellow Mustang parked in the lot outside the winery where a family wedding was winding down.

"What engine does it have?"

"Two-point-three-liter Ecoboost turbo four."

He made a face.  He's 20.  He's allowed.

"A four in a Mustang?  I didn't know they did that."

"They did from 1979-82", I said, conveniently leaving out the whole sorry 1974-78 Mustang II affair.  I also left out the 1984-86 Mustang SVOs, which were also fire-breathing 2.3-liter turbocharged fours.  He's 20, they're almost 35.  It'd be too much explaining.

Instead, I just took him for a ride.