Good Companies Continuing To Do Good: The Turn 5 Scholarship Winners for Spring 2020

One of the proudest associations we have here at TireKicker is with Turn5.  That name may not ring a bell, but Turn5 owns American Muscle and Extreme Terrain, which have been advertisers on TireKicker since 2012 and American Trucks, which joined the party at the beginning of last year.

Advertising on TireKicker doesn't buy a company editorial coverage, but Turn5 does a lot of good.  We've told you about their Positive Payload Program, which gives money to charities that use American pickups in their service to the community twice a year.  And, back in November, we covered their bi-annual scholarship program.  The winners have been announced for Spring of 2020:

American Muscle's scholarship is an essay-based program.  Entrants write about how they plan to use their automotive education to drive change in the custom car industry.  Four winners are selected, two per semester. The scholarship is $2,000 each.  It's been going on since 2013, with 24 winners so far---the two newest just this month---Josiah Dumitrescu from Kettering University in Flint, Michigan and Olivia Larson, a high school senior who has engineering program applications into several universities. 

American Trucks started its own scholarship program in 2018, focusing on students striving to contribute to the construction and building trades.  Each year, four winners are awarded $2,000 each and this semester's winners are Jesse Larson of Perry Technical Institute in Yakima, Washington and Kevon Smith from Fayetteville Technical Community College.

Extreme Terrain's program awards $3,000 once per semester.  This semester's winner is Jordan Buslewicz from the University of Connecticut. 

All told, Turn5 has awarded more than $100,000 in scholarships to deserving students in the past five years, beginning the year the company was founded---giving back right out of the gate.  That's not only newsworthy, it's noteworthy and admirable.  Again, we're proud of our association with Turn 5.


Korean Missile: The 2019 Genesis G70 3.3T Dynamic Edition

Front 3/4 view of 2019 Genesis G70 3.3T Dynamic Edition
The 2019 Genesis G70 3.3T Dynamic Edition.
About ten years ago, I started writing that Korean cars---Hyundai and Kia---were roaring up in the rearview mirrors of the established Japanese automakers---Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Mazda---and would soon be as just as solid a choice to buy. That came true. Now, it's the Europeans' turn to worry.

Hyundai's luxury-sport wing, Genesis, has just introduced its first true sport sedan, the G70. And I spent a week driving the highest-performance version, the G70 3.3T Dynamic Edition.


This Is Cadillac: The 2020 Cadillac XT5 Sport AWD

Front 3/4 view of 2020 Cadillac XT5 Sport AWD
The 2020 Cadillac XT5 Sport AWD.
The car you see above is Cadillac's best-selling vehicle. That's right. A mid-size crossover SUV is the current king of the hill for Cadillac. It's a sign of how things have changed---not only for the automaker that was regarded as the "Standard of the World" in the 20th century---but for the way we use cars.

For all its pursuit of European-style performance the past 20 years, what the XT5 says is that, ultimately, Americans with the means to consider Cadillac want room to carry people and things, and to do so in quiet and comfort.


Good Thing, Small Package: The 2019 Lexus UX 250h F SPORT

Front 3/4 view of 2019 Lexus UX 250h F SPORT
The 2019 Lexus UX 250h F SPORT.
"Little" and "luxury" have a hard time co-existing in American minds. Houses, cars, diamonds, boats---bigger means more expensive and more expensive means luxury.

Or so it went. There's a new generation of luxury buyers coming into their peak earning years who realize that luxury is an experience, not a physical measurement. If a small crossover SUV that gets good gas mileage makes sense for them, then why can't there simply be a luxurious version of that?

That's where the 2019 Lexus UX 250h comes in. It is the smallest of Lexus' three crossovers---the big RX, the medium-sized NX, and now the UX---and there are a lot of good things that come in this small package.


"Hybrid Lust Object" Is Not An Oxymoron: The 2020 Lexus LC 500h

Front 3/4 view of 2020 Lexus LC 500h
The 2020 Lexus LC 500h.
Meet my current dream machine. The "if I had all the money in the world, I'd buy..." car. I am, as I have said  before, a beauty addict. It's why I love living in Northern California. Beauty surrounds us. And for my money, the Lexus LC 500h is the most beautiful car on the market today.

This is the kind of car that people stop and stare at. I came outside on the fourth day I had the LC 500h to find a neighbor I've never met before standing in my driveway in alternating states of awe and bliss. I have a new friend now. We bonded over the LC 500h.

Part of it is the LC's rarity. So far, there are only about 3,000 of them out there after two years in production.


The One With The Six: The 2020 BMW M340i

Front 3/4 view of 2020 BMW M340i
The 2020 BMW M340i.
If you've ever wondered why the BMW 3-series sedan became a thing---it's the engine. Or it was. A silky-smooth inline six-cylinder, capable of propelling BMW's small (now mid-size) sedan quickly with seemingly endless reserves of both torque and horsepower. You would pin the speedometer, lose your license or both long before you ever felt you needed more from under the hood.

As technology has evolved and fuel economy has become a matter of law, automotive engineers have found that they can achieve that kind of power from a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. And BMW has adopted them in the 330i. It's a fine engine---among the best of its type. But it doesn't have the same feel, the same sound as that glorious BMW straight six. If you want that in 2020---and can't quite justify the leap to the hardcore twin-turbo 425-horsepower M3, you want the BMW M340i.


The Comeback Kid: The 2020 Acura MDX SH-AWD A-Spec

Front 3/4 view of 2020 Acura MDX SH-AWD A-Spec
The 2020 Acura MDX SH-AWD A-Spec.
We all have our ups and downs. That goes for car companies too. Take Acura---the hotter-than-hot upscale performance arm of Honda in the 90s, which, as the new millennium wore on, saw its luster wear off.

Well, Acura is back and the best example I can think of is the 2020 Acura MDX SH-AWD A-Spec.


A GTI For The Family: The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI

Front 3/4 view of 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI
2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI.
The Volkswagen Jetta is all-new for 2019, bigger on the inside and outside, with sleeker styling. It's a more aggressive look that pairs well with the GLI, the most sporting of the Jetta lineup.


Some Camaro In Your Blazer? The 2019 Chevrolet Blazer Premier AWD

Front 3/4 view of 2019 Chevrolet Blazer Premier AWD
The 2019 Chevrolet Blazer Premier AWD.
The slicing and dicing of the crossover/sport utility vehicle market is a wondrous thing to watch. 

The 2019 Chevrolet Blazer is Chevy’s sixth SUV.  That’s right.  Sixth.   The bowtie boys and girls (check the Chevy logo if that reference escapes you) have found a space of daylight between the compact Equinox and the midsize Traverse and thus we have the Blazer.

Actually, there’s some fair amount of good sense involved here, since the Blazer pretty well goes head-to-head against the Toyota Highlander and that’s a vehicle worth competing with.