More Motivation: The 2018 Lexus LS 500 F SPORT

Front 3/4 view of 2018 Lexus LS 500 F SPORT
The 2018 Lexus LS 500 F SPORT.
It was a few days into the week that I had the all-new 2018 Lexus LS 500 F SPORT.  Mrs. TireKicker and I were walking back to the car in a parking lot, and about 50 paces away, I saw the entire car from the side for the first time.

"Damn", I said, "that is just gorgeous."   And Mrs. TireKicker agreed.

It is the second time in three months that Lexus has grabbed both of us by our sense of aesthetics.  Regular readers will recall our Thanksgiving week trip to Los Angeles in the 2018 Lexus LC 500h hybrid coupe...which we still want, $101,385 price tag be damned.   That review was entitled "Motivation", since I'd need (using my dad's formula of never buying a car that costs more than half your annual salary) to make $202,770 a year (minimum) to buy one.


A Step In The Right Direction: The 2018 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited Platinum AWD

Front 3/4 view of 2018 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
The 2018 Toyota Highlander Hybrid.
Let's give credit where credit's due.  Toyota has done a great job with its mid-cycle refresh of the Highlander.  What had been a heavy, unflattering nose has been smoothed out, the interior is a nicer place to do the business of driving, and...in the case of the Hybrid, fuel economy has improved and the base price has been lowered.


The Original Hot Hatch: The 2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI Autobahn

Front 3/4 view of 2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI
The 2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI.
Thirty-five years ago, a co-worker of mine was dating a very rich man who also knew, liked and had good taste in cars.  Dude could have bought anything on four wheels.  He bought one of the first Volkswagen Rabbit GTIs. 

At a time when BMW 3-series were managing 11-second 0-60 runs and the SAAB 900 Turbo was considered blistering fast at 10 seconds flat, the GTI did it in 10.6, for a fraction of the price (roughly $8,500 at the time).  And it handled like it was on rails.  The GTI was a revelation in 1983.


Wouldn't You Really Rather? The 2018 Buick Enclave Premium AWD

Front 3/4 view of 2018 Buick Enclave
The 2018 Buick Enclave.
The headline for this review might need a bit of explanation for anyone younger than....well, me.

In the 60s, Buick had a very successful advertising campaign.  "Wouldn't you really rather have a Buick?"  That one question covered a lot of ground for Buick, which was competing with Chrysler and Mercury directly, but also was part of the General Motors family, which was built on the idea of moving up from a Chevrolet, Oldsmobile or Pontiac to a Buick (and eventually, one hoped, to a Cadillac).

Fifty years hence, Buick's competition is more along the lines of Acura, maybe Infiniti, the lower end of Lexus and...this could spark debate...perhaps Volvo.  As far as GM, the old Alfred Sloan model of moving up the ladder of General Motors products is pretty well dead and buried.  But there's still a "wouldn't you really rather" within the family, since the 2018 Buick Enclave and the 2018 GMC Acadia are essentially the same machine.


How Do You Say "Subaru" in German? The 2018 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack SEL

Front 3/4 view of 2018 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack
The 2018 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack.
Since The Great Unpleasantness, Volkswagen has been trying to identify its way forward.  Given that it's a rough road, why not a raised wagon with four-wheel drive?


Dream Machine: The 2018 Audi A5 Cabriolet 2.0T quattro S tronic

Front 3/4 view of 2018 Audi A5 Cabriolet
The 2018 Audi A5 Cabriolet.
I was raised to believe that flashy and quality simply did not go together.  Things must have changed, because the 2018 Audi A5 Cabriolet is flashy personified and the quality is tremendous.


What's In A Name? The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas V6 SE

Front 3/4 view of 2018 Volkswagen Atlas
The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas.
The Volkswagen model name list is filled with exotic sounds---Scirocco, Touraeg, Tiguan.  And now there's Atlas.  Sounds big and familiar, doesn't it?  That's fitting, because for the first time, VW has built a full-size SUV that requires no adjustment in thinking for buyers of American SUVs.