Making A Difference: American Trucks' Positive Payload 2019 Winter Winners

One of our happiest and proudest associations here at TireKicker is with the fine folks at American MuscleExtreme Terrain and American Trucks.  They have been loyal advertisers since 2012. 

Right now, American Trucks is doing something worth writing about (buying ad space at TireKicker doesn't guarantee editorial coverage). 

It's called the Positive Payload Program.  If you volunteer for or work with a charity that uses Ford F-150sChevy SilveradosGMC Sierras or Dodge Rams in its service to the community, you can apply for a $2,000 donation to that charity.

The winter 2019 winners are: 

Habitat For Humanity Philadelphia, which has repaired 500 homes and built 215 since its launch in 2003---directly impacting the lives of more than 1,700 people.  Habitat's fleet of trucks is essential to get supplies and staff between worksites and warehouses.

Water Mission International, which since 2001 has used innovative technology and engineering expertise to provide access to safe water for more than 3.6 million people in 55 countries.  Trucks are used to deliver equipment and technology to communities in need.  Terrain is often rugged and only a truck can be used to navigate the many miles to individual communities.  Also, during a disaster relief effort, trucks are driven through remote and often flooded areas where people desperately need safe drinking water.

Full details and a link to apply are here.


Revising The Mission Statement: The 2019 Toyota Avalon Touring

Front 3/4 view of 2019 Toyota Avalon Touring
The 2019 Toyota Avalon Touring.
When the first Toyota Avalon arrived 24 years ago, it was summed up by a lot of observers as the Japanese having built a better Buick.  It was, after all, the closest thing Toyota had built to a luxobarge, the late 70s through early 90s Cressida, a stodgily-styled sedan that could be had, in some years, with a velour interior, but which also had the same engine as the sporty Supra under its hood.

You may have noticed that Toyota is working very hard to shake off its bland image of late.  And for 2019, the Avalon, a new fifth-generation model, has gotten essentially the same styling treatment the smaller Camry got last year.


Limitations: The 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GT S-AWC

Front 3/4 view of 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GT S-AWC
The 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GT S-AWC
"A man's got to know his limitations." ---Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry in "Magnum Force",  1973

I wanted to like the 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) GT S-AWC.  And, in a lot of ways, I do, and have for some time. 

Two years ago, the gasoline-powered version of this machine got me over Donner Pass (and back) in a snowstorm.  Even then, I acknowledged the Outlander's age (despite a new one in 2014, this is very much a 2010-era machine), but the value equation---surefootedness, a reasonably powerful V6 engine and feature content including a 710-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system for less than $35,000---won the day for the Outlander.


ES Goes F: The 2019 Lexus ES350 F SPORT

Front 3/4 view of 2019 Lexus ES350 F SPORT
The 2019 Lexus ES350 F SPORT.
For those of us who remember when the Lexus brand first appeared and the ES series was little more than a very nice Toyota Camry, it's a surprise to learn the 2019 is the seventh generation of the ES.  The new-gen ES350 is lower and wider, adapting the design language of the stunning LC500 coupe and LS500 sedan