High Performance, High Style: The 2015 Volkswagen Golf R

Front 3/4 view of 2015 Volkswagen Golf R
The 2015 Volkswagen Golf R.
Bags packed, car loaded, Navigator and I were only a few minutes into our latest adventure when she said "This (car) is nice.  How much?"

"Thirty-nine thousand dollars", I replied, inadvertently leaving 90 bucks off the 2015 Volkswagen Golf R's base price.

"Why would a VW Golf cost $39,000?"  she asked.

With a smile, I pressed my right foot to the floor.


Still The One: 2015 Chevrolet Suburban LTZ

Front 3/4 view of 2015 Chevrolet Suburban LTZ
The 2015 Chevrolet Suburban LTZ.
So many people (yours truly included) had full-size American SUVs in the 1990s that it became something of a fad.  Like all fads, it ended and the people who really didn't need such huge machines (yours truly included) moved on to more practical conveyances, and the segment contracted.  20 years on, the survivors are few, and the fittest of the survivors is the big wagon that started it all 80 years ago...the Chevrolet Suburban.

The Golden Age Is Now: 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack

Front view of 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack
The 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack.
When I was getting my learner's permit, one of the most fearsome and desirable beasts roaming the planet was the 1971 Dodge Challenger R/T with a 426 Hemi.  425 horsepower as measured in those days (they measured gross, not net then...works out to about 350 by today's standards) and a 0-60 time of six seconds. It would do the quarter in 14 seconds at 104 miles per hour.

When the 1972 models were introduced a month later,  the party was over, Thanks to a double-whammy of emissions regulations and insurance surcharges, the Hemi was dead and the most muscle a Challenger could muster was 240 horsepower from a 340-cubic inch V8.

Instantly, anything prior to that moment was regarded as "The Golden Age of Muscle Cars".

We were right, for a while.  Turns out we just had a 44-year intermission. In fact, the 60s and 70s were just a warm-up by comparison.


Another Step: 2015 Lexus RC350

Front 3/4 view of 2015 Lexus RC350
The 2015 Lexus RC350.
As both our Executive Editor and Publisher and I have been telling you for some time now, Lexus is on a march. The destination: To be taken seriously as a competitor to German sport-luxury cars.  25 years ago, the original Lexus LS sedan knocked the Mercedes-Benz S Class off its perch---a $20,000 lower base price helped---but winning the hearts and minds of Audi and especially BMW intenders has not been such an easy task.

X, As In Multiplied: The 2016 Fiat 500X

Front 3/4 view of 2016 Fiat 500X
The 2016 Fiat 500X.
If you love the little Fiat 500, and we do, you may be hoping for one a bit larger and more practical.  Fiat actually makes one of those, the 500L, but very few people are buying them.  The problem appears to be aesthetic.  They got the proportions wrong and the L looks rather ungainly, a cardinal sin for a vehicle that, in its two-door form, sells largely on style.  So Fiat is giving it another try with the 500X.