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    Wednesday
    Sep142016

    REVIEW: 2016 LEXUS IS 200t

    With the all-new Lexus IS 200t, the luxury automaker is turning heads and converting would-be Lexus enthusiasts into loyal customers. Perfect for zipping around the streets of San Jose, the turbocharged sportscar is a great choice for drivers looking to make an impact.

    In case just looking at the new sports car from Lexus isn't enough, here are our favorite things about the 2016 Lexus IS 200t:

    Safety

    If you're looking for a sports car that you feel safe toting the kids around in, the IS just might be your ride. Awarded a best-possible 5 Star Overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and perfect scores in front overlap and side crash from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the IS is a family-worthy ride.

    Safety features on the IS 200t include a 10-airbag system and Lexus Enform Safety Connect so drivers have access to help in case of theft or emergency. It also has stability control, newly designed anti-lock brakes and electronic traction control.

    Entertainment

    Not that you'll ever be bored driving the 200t, but if you'd like a soundtrack or want to catch up on the news during your commute, you're covered. The Lexus sportscar comes with HD Radio with iTunes tagging, SiriusXM radio for three months, Siri Eyes Free and hands-free technologies, so you're never distracted from the road.

    Drivers can also opt for a premium Mark Levinson Audio 5.1 system with 17 speakers and 835 watts of power. Other options for convenience and entertainment include remote touch, navigation system with voice activation and a DVD entertainment system.

    Technology on the IS 200t includes Lexus Enform Remote and Service Connect and Homelink assistance.

    Exterior and Engine

    The IS 200t is sharp but doesn't take itself too seriously. Sitting low to the ground, it's high on style and rises to the occasion when it comes to performance.

    With Xenon headlamps and LED fog, daytime running and tail lights, body-colored handles and mirrors, and the ultra modern spindle grille, it's an understated type of beauty.

    The IS 200t is a rear-drive-only sportscar with a turbocharged 2-liter engine and 8-speed automatic transmission. For its size, it's got plenty of power with 251 horses and 258 lbs-ft of torque. It also features Toyota's specially tuned variable valve timing, so it runs on either the Otto combustion cycle or the energy-conserving Atkinson cycle. Its output beats those of the Audi A4 and the BMW 328i.

    Drivers can expect to get 22 MPG in the city and 33 MPG highway with the Lexus IS.

    Pricing

    MSRP: starting at $38,275

    Wednesday
    Sep072016

    COMPARISON: 2016 LEXUS CT 200h VS. TOYOTA PRIUS

    2016 LEXUS CT 200h VS. TOYOTA PRIUS

    Northern Californians are known for their eco-conscious decisions, but they're also savvy enough to know that being green no longer means sacrificing luxury. Still, some wonder just what makes the all-new Lexus CT 200h better than the 2016 Toyota Prius.

    Allow us to explain why it's worth it to upgrade from the first-generation hybrid car:

    Performance

    Lexus CT 200H

    It's a good thing you'll rarely have to fuel up in the CT 200h because it's so fun to drive you'll never want to stop. With precise handling, a compact body and 134 horsepower, the roads of San Jose won't know what hit them. A 1.8-liter I-4 gas engine and a hybrid synergy drive system mean it's efficient when it needs to be, and powerful when it's time to get up and go. Its hatchback design makes it as practical as it is sporty.

    Toyota Prius

    Comparatively, driving the Prius is a less-than-exhilarating experience, though it has the reliable feel of a traditional car, with higher gas mileage. It has 121 horsepower and a similar gas-electric I-4 engine as the CT 200h.

    Safety

    Lexus CT 200H

    Leave it to Lexus to make a car that's as safe as it is sexy. The hybrid vehicle has earned a Top Safety Pick+ title from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, earning best-possible scores in all crash tests. It comes with all of the standard safety features, eight-airbag system, stop smart technology, and a rollover protection system.

    Toyota Prius

    The Prius similarly earned the Top Safety Pick+ title from the IIHS, earning "Good" scores in all crash test categories. The old standby from Toyota also comes with a number of standard safety features, including airbags, lane departure alert and side impact beams.

    Features

    Lexus CT 200H

    In addition to its stylish exterior, the CT 200h has entertainment and comfort features that will make you wish the drive didn't have to end. Drivers can expect standard six-speaker audio system, dual-zone automatic climate control, satellite radio and Bluetooth connectivity. Additionally, buyers can add front and rear parking sensors, a moonroof for those beautiful San Jose nights and a rearview camera. Other premium features include a 10-speaker audio system, adaptive cruise control, Lexus Remote Touch infotainment system, Lexus Enform App Suite, Siri Eyes Free and voice-controlled entertainment.

    Toyota Prius

    Entertainment and connectivity features on the Prius include Entune Audio with a multimedia bundle, a 6.1-inch touch-screen display, AM/FM radio, CD player, a six-speaker system, USB port, iPod connectivity, voice control capability and hands- and eyes-free systems. Additionally, drivers get phone book access and streaming via Bluetooth.

    Pricing

    Lexus CT 200H

    Starting at $31,250 MSRP

    Toyota Prius

    Starting at $24,200 MSRP

    Tuesday
    Aug302016

    COMPARISON: 2016 LEXUS GX460 VS BMW X5 SPORT xDRIVE

    A luxury sport vehicle is like a cashmere flannel or Italian-made hiking boots - something you adopt once you’ve grown out of your starter equipment. If you want a car that will make you feel on top of the world while you climb the NorCal peaks, two of the best options out there are the Lexus GX 460 and the BMW X5 Sport xDrive.

    Not sure which one to choose? Read our side-by-side comparison.

    Safety

    Lexus GX 460

    The all-new GX 460 comes with some serious safety features, including Enform Safety Connect, a 10-airbag system, active front headrests, LED headlights and taillights, a backup camera and tire pressure monitoring system. Plus, it has four-wheel active traction control, downhill assist control and hill-start assist control. Optional features include blind spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert, headlamp washers, and intuitive parking assist.

    BMW X5 Sport xDrive

    Safety features on the X5 Sport xDrive include ABS and driveline traction control, side impact beams, dual-stage driver and passenger seat-mounted side airbags, and BMW Assist eCall Emergency SOS.

    Features

    Lexus GX 460

    The Lexus SUV seats 7 people and has a spacious cabin, with 74 inches in height and 192 inches in length. Plus, it has 6,500 pounds of trailering capacity and 301 horsepower at 5,500 RPM, so it’s much more than a pretty face.

    Drivers can choose between Base and Luxury trim levels, which come with varying features. The Base model is anything but basic with a sunroof, automatic LED headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels and premium upholstery. The Luxury model takes it to the next level with automatic wipers, LED fog lights and perforated leather seats.

    As for entertainment, the GX 460 comes with premium surround-sound, subscription-free traffic and weather, Bluetooth audio tech, steering-wheel-mounted controls and SiriusXM satellite radio. The GX 460 comes standard with 10-way power front seats with lumbar support and Lexus memory system and 40-20-40 folding split-bench front facing rear seat with manual reclining.

    Additionally, the GX 460 has double wishbone front suspension with coil springs, and multi-link rear suspension.

    BMW X5 Sport xDrive

    The X5 only seats 5 people and has 68 inches in height and 191 inches in length. It’s able to tow 5,952 pounds and has 300 horsepower at 5,800 RPM.

    The X5 Sport xDrive has anti-theft AM/FM radio with CD and MP3, wireless streaming, high-fidelity sound system, satellite radio capabilities, enhanced USB, Bluetooth technology and real-time traffic display.

    For comfort, drivers will enjoy heated, 10-way power adjustable front seats with 4-way lumbar support and memory system. In the rear, there’s a 40-20-40 folding split front facing seat. Similar to the GX 460, the X5 is suspended with a double wishbone system with coil springs and a multi-link rear suspension.

    Pricing

    Lexus GX 460

    Starting at $50,780 MSRP

    BMW X5 Sport xDrive

    Starting at $55,695 MSRP

    Friday
    Aug192016

    COMPARISON: LEXUS ES HYBRID VS. BMW ACTIVE HYBRID SEDAN

    Lexus ES Hybrid vs BMW Hybrid

    Luxury sedans are great cars from virtually every perspective – style, fuel economy, top-of-the-line technology, spacious and beautiful interiors and excellent performance. The rest comes down to make and model.

    The Lexus ES Hybrid and BMW Active Hybrid Sedan are both eye-catching cars with a lot to offer. Smooth rides, generous legroom, high-tech interfaces, stylish and durable interiors and much more.

    But how do the two cars compare? Let's take a closer look at the Lexus ES Hybrid and the BMW Active Hybrid Sedan.

    Safety

    Lexus ES Hybrid

    The 2016 ES Hybrid doesn't have a registered rating with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the car a perfect five out of five rating.

    That's not surprising when you consider that standard safety features include Enform Safety Connect, 10-airbag system, vehicle stability control, backup camera with dynamic gridlines, Traction Control (TRAC), vehicle proximity notification system, Child Restraint Seat (CRS), Whiplash Injury Lessening front seats, LED headlamps and taillamps, brake system, Smart Stop technology, rigid body structure with crumple zones and Direct Tire Pressure Monitor System. 

    There are also optional add-ons that can further reinforce the safety of your vehicle.

    BMW Active Hybrid Sedan

    The Active Hybrid Sedan has been rated "Good" in all crash tests, except for the small overlap front rating of "Marginal" courtesy of the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. The BMW also scored a perfect five out of five with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

    The Active Hybrid comes equipped with airbags, emergency braking preparation, post-collision safety system, remote anti-theft alarm system, stability control, tire pressure monitoring, traction control, 4-wheel ABS, emergency braking assist, Rear-View Camera, Park Distance Control, Night Vision with Pedestrian Detection and Parking Assistant.

    Features

    Lexus ES Hybrid

    Lexus has packed the ES Hybrid to the rafters with powerful tech. It comes standard with Enform Service Connect, Enform Remote, SiriusXM® Satellite Radio, subscription-free traffic and weather, steering-wheel-mounted controls, Siri® Eyes Free, electroluminescent instrumentation, EV driving mode, Drive Mode Select, HD Radio™ with iTunes® Tagging, SmartAccess key fob, Bluetooth® technology, and HomeLink® system. 

    If you're in the market for more tech, Lexus offers many optional features to choose from.

    On the inside, you will also find 10-way power front seats, illuminated entry system, NuLuxe interior trim, and dual-zone climate control with smog sensor.

    BMW Active Hybrid Sedan

    The Active Hybrid Sedan offers 12 speakers, two subwoofers, 205-watt stereo output, USB connection, auxiliary audio input and USB with external media control, and AM/FM stereo.

    On the inside, you will also find a leather steering wheel, four-zone climate control, cruise control, electric power steering, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, universal remote transmitter, cruise, audio and transmission controls on steering wheel.

    Fuel Economy

    Lexus ES Hybrid

    40 MPG city / 39 MPG highway / 40 MPG combined

    BMW Active Hybrid Sedan

    23 MPG city / 24 MPG highway / 27 MPG combined

    Pricing

    Lexus ES Hybrid

    Base: Starting at $41,020 MSRP

    Deluxe: N/A

    BMW Active Hybrid Sedan

    Base: Starting at $50,200 MSRP

    Deluxe – 550i Sedan: Starting at $68,600

    Wednesday
    Aug102016

    REVIEW: 2016 LEXUS LS 460

    Lexus LS 460

    The all-new Lexus LS 460 is the ideal ride for drivers who want class, comfort, and performance without all the noise. Some of its competitors, the Mercedes S-Class or the BMW 7 Series, may seem like the sexier options, but taking a closer look will reveal that the classic Lexus sedan is luxury defined - and at a much better price.

    If you are looking for a timeless car that performs the way a luxury car should, take a deep dive into the Lexus LS 460.

    Safety Features

    The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the all-new Lexus LS 460 best-possible scores in tests for moderate frontal crash and seating and head restraints.

    The classic luxury sedan comes equipped with a suite of safety features to ensure that your ride is as safe as it is opulent. Airbags on all sides, anti-lock brakes, automatic brake assist, electronic stability control, daytime running lights, integrated turn signal mirrors and night vision are all features you may not even notice but lend a lot to the safety of the vehicle.

    Plus, drivers benefit from a rollover protection system, blind spot monitor, and lane departure warning.

    Entertainment

    The all-new LS 460 has all the entertainment features you want and none of the bells and whistles that will only slow you down. A standard 12-inch infotainment display, 10-speaker audio system, Bluetooth connectivity and satellite and HD radio ensure you never skip a beat.

    Looking for more? Premium options include the Mark Levinson surround sound with 19 speakers, rear-seat entertainment and Lexus Enform Remote smartphone integration system.

    New Styling

    Sure, the LS 460 is comfortable because of its smooth ride and plush seats, but it also has one thing the competition doesn't: an available long wheelbase that allows for ample legroom in the front and rear. Upgraded suspension and steering also contribute to a smooth, controlled ride that's become a signature of Lexus' flagship model.

    New Technology

    If you're looking for an in-cabin system that ensures you'll never get lost and always have the latest news and reports at your fingertips, search no more. The LS 460 comes available with a navigation system, Lexus Remote Touch and a Siri-enabled control system for iPhone. Drivers may also add a power ottoman and rear DVD entertainment system for long family trips.

    Pricing

    Starts at $72,520 MSRP