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    Wednesday
    Jan252017

    Review: 2017 Lexus GS 350

    San Jose Review 2017 Lexus GS350

    Drivers in San Jose are smart. They’re not fooled by luxury European brands that are all style and little substance (that is, unless you’re willing to pay for several packages of add-ons).

    That’s why residents of Silicon Valley love the 2017 Lexus GS 350, a luxury sedan that has the latest in tech, a powerful engine, and classic styling from the Japanese automaker – all at a price starting around $50,000. Take one out for a test drive, but first, read our full review:

    Features

    The Lexus Enform infotainment system has become one of the best available systems, and it’s standard on each model of the GS. Better yet? That includes the Enform App Suite, Service Connect, Safety Connect, and Remote. Your tunes have never sounded better than when you listen through the 12-speaker premium audio system, and you’ll have everything at the tips of your fingers with AM/FM radio, HD radio, MP3, Bluetooth, and smartphone connectivity. Always know where you stand with the voice-activated navigation system with 12.3-inch display, which gives you traffic and weather updates, 3D city views, and views of approaching highway junctions.

    Optional features include heated and ventilated front seats, rear audio and climate controls, semi-aniline leather seating, 16-way driver's sport seat, navigation, power trunk release, and 17-speaker Mark Levinson audio.

    Safety

    Lexus knows how to prioritize, so this year every model of the GS has standard Lexus Safety System+. This package of features includes pre-collision system, lane departure alert with steering assist, intelligent high beams, and high-speed dynamic radar cruise control. Additionally, all models have 10 airbags, Lexus dynamic handling system with dynamic rear steering, backup camera with gridlines, blind-spot monitor with gridlines, hill-start assistance, anti-lock brakes, LED taillights, rain-sensing wipers, and a rigid body structure with crumple zones.

    Styling and Interior

    This Lexus sedan is not for those who like to blend it. It has bold styling that give it an aggressively sporty look, with oversized grille, deep chin spoiler, and narrow (but powerful) headlights. Its low stance and 18-inch alloy wheels make it fun to zip around the Bay Area in style. The GS 350’s cabin is a feat of technology and design, with standard leather seating, wood and metallic accent trim, power moonroof, and multi-function steering wheel. Plus, you’ll love the supportive and comfortable 10-way power adjustable seats, LED ambient door and console lighting, and beautiful instrument panel with analog Optitron gauges.

    Engine

    The 2017 GS 350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes 311 horses of power and 280 lb-ft of torque. It has dual variable-valve timing with intelligence and direct fuel injection, and great fuel economy at up to 29 MPG. The engine is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, and drivers have the option for all-wheel drive.

    Pricing

    Starting at $50,695 MSRP

    Wednesday
    Jan182017

    Review: 2017 Lexus RX 350

    San Jose Review of the 2017 Lexus RX 350

    Luxury SUVs aren’t always practical, with the exception of the Lexus RX. This ute was a trailblazer in its segment and continues to pave the way for rides that are roomy and luxe while remaining easy-to-drive and fuel efficient.

    This year, there are even more reasons why drivers in San Jose will love this vehicle. Here’s our full review of the 2017 Lexus RX 350:

    Features

    Each model of the 2017 RX is equipped with the latest in entertainment and convenience technology, including deluxe infotainment system with USB port, Micro SD card slot, Bluetooth, Siri Eyes Free, 9-speaker audio system, and HomeLink garage door opener. If you’re looking to add some features to the base model, your options include a 12.3-inch display, 15-speaker Mark Levinson audio system, rear-seat entertainment system with DVD and two screens, and navigation.

    Safety

    The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the 2017 RX a Top Safety Pick+ after it earned best possible scores in all crash tests, including small and moderate front overlap impact, rear crash, roof strength, and side impact.

    Perhaps the RX’s shining test scores are the result of the advanced features in the Lexus Safety System+, a package that comes standard on each model (in fact, the automaker has started including this as a standard feature on many of its 2017 models, because that’s how Lexus rolls). The system includes automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, lane-departure alert, and rearview camera.

    Styling and Interior

    The uniquely styled 2017 RX has a prominent spindle grille flanked by fluid headlight housings illuminated with LED lights, and a “floating” roof thanks to a blacked-out C-pillar behind the rear windows. Inside, Lexus designers made smart use of center console space and built in 18 cubic feet of cargo space when the rear seats are up, and 56 cubes when they're folded. Standard NuLuxe interior gives the look and feel of leather, but it’s not as heavy and is eco-friendly to produce.

    Standard styling and interior features include 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat, power-adjustable steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone climate control, and 18-inch wheels. When you upgrade to the F Sport model, you’ll enjoy a panoramic glass roof, ambient lighting, roof rails, dual-zone climate control, and the Touch-Free Power Rear Door, which allows the hatch to open simply by hovering your hand over the emblem in the rear.

    Engine and Fuel Economy

    The 2017 RX 350 has a 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes 295 horses of power and 267 lb-ft of torque. It has available all-wheel drive, 8-speed automatic transmission, and drive mode select for optimum efficiency and responsiveness.

    The EPA estimates that the front-wheel drive model gets 20 MPG city and 27 MPG highway, while the all-wheel drive gets 19 MPG city and 26 MPG highway.

    Pricing

    Starting at $43,120 MSRP

    Wednesday
    Jan042017

    COMPARISON: 2017 Lexus ES 300h vs BMW 330e

    Silicon Valley Comparison of the Lexus ES 300h vs BMW330e

    The luxury hybrid sedan fits in perfectly in Silicon Valley, where drivers want style and performance while maintaining a low carbon footprint. While the Lexus ES has been a perennial favorite, the BMW 3 Series’ hybrid option has drawn some eyes as well.

    However, there are real differences between these two vehicles, so check out our side-by-side comparison of the 2017 Lexus ES 300h vs the BMW 3 Series Hybrid.

    SAFETY

    LEXUS ES 300h

    The 2017 ES earned the title of Top Safety Pick+ by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety after it scored perfect results in all crash tests. Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave it a best-possible 5-Star Overall Rating.

    Results like these don’t happen by chance. Lexus outfitted each model of the new ES with the Lexus Safety System+, a package of features that would normally cost extra. It includes pre-collision system, lane-departure alert, steering assist, intelligent high-beams, and dynamic radar cruise control.

    BMW 330e

    While the 2017 3 Series did earn a 5-Star Overall Rating from the NHTSA, it has not yet been evaluated by the IIHS.

    The BMW sedan has standard safety features like airbags, head restraints, and impact sensors (as does the ES). However, driver assistance technologies similar to those found standard on the ES will cost extra, and do not come in an integrated package like the Lexus system.

    ENGINE

    LEXUS ES 300h

    The 2017 ES 300h is powered by a 2.5-liter inline-4 engine combined with hybrid electric motor and nickel-metal battery module. It gets an EPA-estimated 40 MPG city and 39 MPG highway, and has a continuously variable transmission.

    The front-wheel drive Lexus ES is lighter than its BMW competitor, so it has a more effective power-to-weight ratio – in other words, it has better acceleration despite having less horsepower.

    BMW 330e

    The 2017 3 Series plug-in hybrid option is powered by a turbocharged inline-4 engine combined with an electric motor. It gets an EPA-estimated 30 MPG combined, and has either a manual or automatic transmission.

    FEATURES

    LEXUS ES 300h

    An excellent package of standard features extends beyond safety, as the new ES is also equipped with dual-zone automatic climate control, moonroof, push-button start, auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated exterior mirrors, 10-way power adjustable front seats, rearview camera, HomeLink garage door opener, and Bluetooth connectivity. It’s also equipped with the Lexus Enform infotainment system, Sirius XM Radio, voice command, and Siri Eyes Free.

    BMW 330e

    The 2017 3 Series has standard faux-leather seating, manually adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate control, rain-sensing wipers, and entertainment system with 9 speakers, 6.5-inch LCD screen, USB ports, and Bluetooth connectivity.

    PRICING

    LEXUS ES 300h

    Starting at $41,820 MSRP

    BMW 330e

    Starting at $44,100 MSRP

    Wednesday
    Dec282016

    COMPARISON: 2016 Lexus GS Turbo vs Audi A6

    Silicon Valley Comparison of the Lexus GS Turbo vs Audi A6

    If you’re shopping for a luxury sedan with a turbocharged engine to traverse the streets of San Jose, California, you may find that there are many options out there that give you either style, power, or features.

    However, you shouldn’t feel like you need to choose between the three, as some offer everything. When comparing the 2016 Lexus GS Turbo to the 2016 Audi A6, there are some key areas to examine, so read on for our full comparison:

    STYLING

    LEXUS GS TURBO

    Lexus can't be beaten when it comes to design, and the GS Turbo is a great example. With the signature Lexus spindle grille, a beautiful array of colors to choose from, 18-inch alloy wheels, the GS is the luxury option that truly looks the part. Inside, there's an intuitive center stack, LED ambient lighting, and high-quality details that define the brand.

    AUDI A6

    The Audi sedan has a re-styled body, with new headlights, an updated bumper and a gaping grille that’s become a signature for Audi. Compared to the Lexus, it’s conservative and dowdy, but Audi enthusiasts may prefer the more reserved style. Premium styling options include added Audi badges and logos. The interior also keeps it simple, and drivers can choose to add Beaufort wood trim and aluminum accents as an upgrade.

    ENGINE

    LEXUS GS TURBO

    Lexus engineers have mastered the art of the turbocharged engine, effectively using the vehicle’s exhaust to improve both efficiency and boost power. The GS Turbo engine is a 2-liter inline-4 with 241 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque and 8-speed automatic transmission. It’s a Certified Ultra-Low Emission vehicle, getting up to 33 MPG.

    AUDI A6

    The A6 is equipped with a similar 2-liter turbocharged inline-4 engine, but has standard 7-speed automatic transmission with the option to upgrade to an 8-speed automatic transmission. It gets and EPA estimated 24 MPG city and 35 MPG highway.

    FEATURES

    LEXUS GS TURBO

    The 2016 GS comes standard with NuLuxe upholstery that’s superior to leather, wood and metal accents, multi-function steering wheel, and S-flow automatic climate control for the best in efficiency. It also has the Lexus Premium Audio System with 12 speakers, AM/FM/CD, HD radio, Bluetooth, and surround sound. You’ll also love the standard navigation system, keyless start, rearview camera, and Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system of safety features, including stability control and anti-lock brakes.

    AUDI A6

    The A6 comes with standard leather seats, heated front seats, Bluetooth and smartphone connectivity, automatic headlights, and seat position memory. Optional features include navigation, upgraded infotainment system, adaptive cruise control, and a selection of driver assistance features for added safety.

    Wednesday
    Dec212016

    REVIEW: 2015 Lexus IS 250

    Silicon Valley Review 2015 Lexus IS

    A pre-owned Lexus is always a great idea, because you know you’re getting a reliable, classic ride that’s a great value. Drivers in Silicon Valley time and again choose the IS for its superior quality and timeless styling – everything you’d want in a previously owned car.

    The 2015 Lexus IS 250 has all you need in features, power, and style – plus most of our inventory is L/Certified, so you know you’re getting a vetted vehicle. Read on for our full review:

    SAFETY

    The 2015 IS earned a best possible 5-Star Overall Rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and perfect scores in tests for side and moderate front overlap impact from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

    The Lexus sedan comes standard with an advanced system of airbags and seatbelts, as well as anti-lock brakes, electronic stability and traction control, and a body structure designed to distribute energy upon impact. It also has HID headlights, daytime running lights, LED fog lights, and the option for a blind-spot monitor.

    FEATURES

    The IS 250 comes with some excellent standard features, such as push-button start with keyless entry, Bluetooth connectivity, and Lexus Personalized Settings that let you customize your car. It’s also equipped with an infotainment system that integrates with your smartphone, and produces great sound through an 8-speaker audio system. The system has a 7-inch VGA screen, USB ports, auxiliary input, and Siri Eyes Free. 

    You can also choose from an array of available features, including the Mark Levinson audio system with 15 speakers, ventilated and heated seating, wood accents, leather interior, and navigation system.

    STYLING

    You can choose between a sedan or convertible body style with the IS, and the sedan even comes standard with a sunroof, so either way you’ll be able to enjoy the California sun and stars. On the outside, the IS 250 is distinctly Lexus, with the signature spindle grille, sharply designed headlights, and side body panels like finely molded sheet metal. It has a wide, long wheel base for added stability, and this model introduced a number of design elements that improved function as well, such as added air ducts and high-performance chassis tuning. Standard 17-inch wheels make for nice shoes on this stylish sedan.

    ENGINE

    There are a couple of available powertrains on the IS 250. The base is a 2.5-liter V6 that makes 204 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque, while the upgraded option is a 3.5-liter V6 with 306 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque.

    The base comes mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission and the upgrade has an 8-speed automatic transmission. Each model has the option for all- or rear-wheel drive.

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