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    Wednesday
    Aug162017

    Comparison: 2017 Lexus ES 300h vs 2017 Mercedes-Benz C350e

    Comparison: 2017 Lexus ES 300h vs 2017 Mercedes-Benz C350e

    San Jose drivers in the market for an efficient luxury vehicle may be weighing the differences between hybrid and plug-in hybrid models. Deciding which is better will depend on your needs, and it helps to directly compare models so you can find one that meets your requirements.

    Here, we’ll look at the 2017 Lexus ES 300h to the 2017 Mercedes-Benz C350e. The former is a hybrid, while the latter is a plug-in hybrid. Here’s how they compare:

    Hybrid Technology

    Lexus ES 300h

    A hybrid vehicle combines a traditional gasoline combustion engine with an electric motor whose power is generated on board, meaning you don’t need to use an external source of energy such as an outlet or generator. As such, a hybrid model like the Lexus ES 300h might be ideal if you plan on taking frequent road trips without having to stop and charge your vehicle.

    The 2017 ES 300h combines a 2.5-liter inline-4 Atkinson-cycle engine and an electric motor, and utilizes the advanced Lexus Hybrid Drive system to optimize power between the two sources for the most efficient use of energy. It gets an EPA-estimated 40 MPG city and 39 MPG highway, and makes a net 200 horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque.

    Mercedes-Benz C350e

    A plug-in hybrid isn’t as convenient as a hybrid, but does offer some advantages. While you’ll need to plug it in regularly to charge it, a plug-in gives you an electric-only range and thus usually offers better fuel economy on trips of less than 100 miles.

    The C350e has a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 engine combined with a 60 kWh electric motor. A full charge takes at least two hours with a 220-volt outlet, and the model has an electric-only range of about 20 miles. Mercedes reports that it gets up to 45 MPGe city 61 MPGe highway, and makes a combined 275 horsepower.

    While the Benz plug-in does offer better fuel economy, you may want to take into account any potential increase in home energy use from plugging it in, as well as the higher MSRP.

    Interior and Features

    Lexus ES 300h

    Both the ES 300h and the C350e have seating for five passengers, but the Lexus offers more space than the Mercedes. The ES features 12.1 cubic feet of cargo volume, 41.9 inches of front leg room, 57.5 inches of front shoulder room, and 40 inches of rear leg room.

    All models of the 2017 ES have Lexus Display Audio with Scout GPS Link navigation, a Premium Sound System with 8 speakers, HD Radio with iTunes tagging, Bluetooth wireless technology, subscription-free Traffic and Weather, and the Lexus Enform suite of apps, including Safety Connect, Service Connect, and Remote.

    Mercedes-Benz C350e

    The 2017 C350e has 13.8 cubic feet of cargo space, 41.7 inches of front leg room, 54.7 inches of front shoulder room, and 35.2 inches of rear leg room.

    The Mercedes C-Class comes standard with AM/FM Radio Seek and Scan, COMAND infotainment, 5-speaker audio system, and CD and MP3 players. Both the Lexus and Benz offer voice-activated navigation as a standard feature.

    Pricing

    Lexus ES 300h

    Starting at $42,820 MSRP (or $45,670 fully equipped)

    Mercedes-Benz C350e

    Starting at $46,050 MSRP (or $52,140 fully equipped)

    Wednesday
    Aug092017

    Comparison: 2017 Lexus IS Turbo vs 2017 BMW 320i

    Comparison: 2017 Lexus IS Turbo vs 2017 BMW 320i

    Silicon Valley drivers looking to upgrade to a luxury vehicle should do some homework before deciding, because you may find that some German brands don’t always live up to the hype.

    When comparing the 2017 Lexus IS Turbo to the 2017 BMW 320i, we found some significant differences in power and safety technology. Check out our comparison to see how they stack up, then come to our convenient San Jose location for a test drive of the IS Turbo:

    Power and Performance

    Lexus IS Turbo

    The 2017 IS Turbo is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 engine mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. The rear-wheel drive sport sedan makes 241 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque and takes you from zero to 60 in 6.9 seconds. The F Sport package adds F Sport suspension tuning, as well as sporty features such as LFA-inspired instrumentation, 18-inch five-spoke alloy wheels, and a specially designed front bumper, grille, and rear valance.

    BMW 320i

    Under the hood, the 2017 BMW 320i has a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 engine with 8-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmission. The powertrain makes just 180 horsepower and 200 lb-ft of torque, and accelerates to 60 MPH in 7.1 seconds. It comes with a double-pivot-type front suspension with anti-roll bar and stiffer spring struts, rear damper technology, and 17-inch light alloy wheels.

    Tech and Features

    Lexus IS Turbo

    All models of the 2017 Lexus IS come equipped with the Lexus Safety Connect emergency assistance and the Lexus Safety System+, which includes a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, intelligent high beams, and Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist. It’s also available with a Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Intuitive Parking Assist, and a backup camera.

    You’ll also enjoy the IS Turbo’s standard power moonroof, SmartAcces with push-button Start/Stop, dual-zone climate control, Lexus Display Audio with Scout GPS Link navigation, and Bluetooth tech. The 2017 IS is also available with power rear sunshades, heated and ventilated seating, Navigation System with Lexus Enform Destinations, and a 15-speaker Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound Audio System.

    BMW 320i

    The 2017 320i does not come standard with any driver assistance technology, even when you upgrade to the xDrive model. Its safety features include programmable LED daytime running lights, Coded Driveaway Protection, and BMW Assist eCall with Emergency Request and Enhanced Automatic Collision Notification.

    The 320i comes equipped with an engine start/stop button, automatic climate control, power windows, Advanced Vehicle & Key Memory, BMW Ambiance Lighting, Sirius XM pre-wiring, and HiFi Sound System with 9 speakers. It also has dynamic cruise control, manually adjustable seating, and BMW TeleService. Available features include a Surround View camera, hands-free power trunk, navigation, and head-up display.

    Pricing

    Lexus IS Turbo

    Starting at $37,825 MSRP

    BMW 320i

    Starting at $33,450 MSRP

    Wednesday
    Jul262017

    Comparison: 2017 Lexus RX 350 vs 2017 Audi Q5

    Comparison: 2017 Lexus RX 350 vs 2017 Audi Q5

    San Jose drivers have high expectations, so it’s our goal to meet them. While you may think that all luxury SUVs are created equal, you’d be surprised at the models that fall well below what you’d expect in the segment.

    For instance, when you compare the 2017 Lexus RX 350 to the 2017 Audi Q5, you’ll notice some substantial differences in power, gas mileage, and safety features that tip the scale. To see which ute comes out ahead, read our full comparison:

    Performance

    Lexus RX 350

    Lexus engineers know how to craft a powerful engine that doesn’t sacrifice fuel economy. The 2017 RX 350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, making 295 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque. Front-wheel drive models get you from zero to 60 in 7.7 seconds, while all-wheel drive models add just 0.2 seconds.

    According to EPA estimates, the RX 350 FWD gets 20 MPG city and 27 MPG highway, and AWD models get 19 MPG city and 26 MPG highway.

    Audi Q5

    The Q5 comes with three engine options: a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4, and two versions of a 3.0-liter supercharged V6; all mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The base powertrain makes 220 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, while the latter two make 272 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque and 354 horsepower and 346 lb-ft of torque, respectively.

    The EPA estimates that the base Q5 gets 20 MPG city and 27 MPG highway, while the V6 models lose efficiency in the name of power. The less powerful V6 gets 18 MPG city and 26 MPG highway, while the more powerful version gets 17 MPG city and 24 MPG highway.

    Safety

    Lexus RX 350

    The 2017 RX 350 was named a Top Safety Pick+ by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, as it received best-possible scores in all categories. Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave it a 5-Star Overall Rating.

    San Jose drivers will love the standard tech on the RX 350, which includes a full suite of driver assistance features. All models come equipped with the Lexus Safety System+, featuring a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Lane Keep Assist, and intelligent high beams. This SUV also includes a backup camera, Bi-LED headlamps, LED fog lamps, and Lexus Enform Safety Connect.

    Audi Q5

    While the 2017 Q5 was also named a Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHS, it only earned a 4-Star Overall Rating from the NHTSA.

    Although the Audi is solidly in the luxury segment, it lacks many of the driver assistance features that you would expect in a pricey SUV. The 2017 Q5 is not available with a pre-collision system, autonomous braking, or lane-departure warning or assistance.

    Pricing

    Lexus RX 350

    Starting at $43,120 MSRP

    Audi Q5

    Starting at $40,900 MSRP

    Wednesday
    Jul192017

    Review: 2017 Lexus GS 350

    Review: 2017 Lexus GS 350

    San Jose drivers looking for a versatile luxury sedan should come take the 2017 Lexus GS 350 for a test drive, because some things are just better in person.

    If you’ve never been behind the wheel of a Lexus, you’ll automatically notice the superior cabin quality and thoughtfully designed instrument panel and center stack. Once you start the engine, you’ll see why the GS is one of California’s favorites. Check out our full review for more information, then come in for a visit:

    Performance

    The 2017 GS 350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 311 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. Rear-wheel drive models come with an 8-speed automatic transmission, while all-wheel drive models have a 6-speed automatic transmission. With RWD, you can get from zero to 60 MPH in 5.7 seconds, while the AWD model has a 5.8-second zero-to-60 time.

    According to EPA estimates, the GS 350 RWD gets up to 20 MPG city and 29 MPG highway. The AWD model gets 19 MPG city and 27 MPG highway.

    Safety and Tech

    Lexus equipped all models of the 2017 GS – including the GS 350, GS 200t, GS 450h, and GS F – with the Lexus Safety System+. This suite of technologies includes a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, intelligent high-beam headlights, Lane Keep Assist, and Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist. Additionally, all models have standard LED headlamps and daytime running lights, Lexus Enform Safety Connect, backup camera, and Siri Eyes Free.

    Optional safety features include Premium Triple-Beam LED Headlamps, an Adaptive Front Lighting System, Intuitive Parking Assist, and Heads-Up Display.

    Features

    For your comfort and convenience, all models of the GS feature SmartAccess with push-button start/stop, dual-zone automatic climate control with air filter and smog sensor, auto-dimming mirrors, and Drive Mode Select. Additionally, you’ll love the standard Lexus 12-speaker Premium Sound System, Remote Touch control pad, subscription-free traffic and weather, Bluetooth technology, and HD Radio.

    The Navigation Package adds a Navigation System with Lexus Enform App Suite, 12.3-inch high-resolution split-screen multimedia display, voice command, and Lexus Enform Destinations for one year. You also have the option to add the Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound Audio System.

    Interior

    Inside the cabin, you’ll enjoy luxury materials and distraction-free design. Interior features include the Lexus Memory System for the driver’s seat, power moonroof, 10-way power adjustable front seats, and power tilting/telescoping steering wheel. You can also add a heated steering wheel and power trunk as individual options.

    The Premium Package gives you leather-trimmed seating, power rear sunshade, heated and ventilated front seats, and rain-sensing wipers. The Luxury Package adds embossed-stitch, perforated semi-aniline leather-trimmed interior, heated wood- and leather-trimmed steering wheel, heated rear seats, three-zone automatic climate control, 18-way power adjustable front seats, and more.

    Pricing

    Starting at $50,365 MSRP

    Wednesday
    Jul122017

    Review: 2017 Lexus NX Turbo

    Review: 2017 Lexus NX Turbo

    Bay Area drivers know quality when they see it, which is why Lexus has long been a favorite in the region. Those seeking a crossover SUV with elegant styling, a luxurious interior, and top safety ratings will want to come take the 2017 Lexus NX Turbo for a test drive.

    But first, check out our full review to see why it’s the perfect small ute for California roads:

    Entertainment and Convenience

    You expect to have everything you need at your fingertips in a luxury car, and the NX delivers. It features an available Remote Touchpad for easy access to media, climate, and navigation controls via a responsive touch surface area with intuitive pinch, swipe, and flick gestures and pulse feedback. Additionally, the NX Turbo comes standard with Lexus Display Audio with Scout GPS Link navigation, an 8-speaker Premium Sound System, Bluetooth tech, and Siri Eyes Free.

    You also have the option to add a Qi-compatible wireless charger, a 10-speaker Premium Sound System, Voice Command, Lexus Enform Destinations, and the entire Enform App Suite for access to all of your favorite apps, wherever you go.

    Interior and Comfort

    Each model of the 2017 NX is equipped with dual-zone automatic climate control with air filter, NuLuxe interior trim, and leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob. As individual add-on options, you can also choose heated and ventilated front seats, power-folding and reclining rear seats, power moonroof, power rear door, and a heated steering wheel.

    The Comfort Package adds Lexus Memory System for the driver’s seat and mirrors, as well as a power tilting/telescoping steering column. The Luxury Package gives you Linear Black Shadow wood interior trim, perforated leather-trimmed seating, rain-sensing wipers, heated steering wheel, and power rear door.

    Safety and Tech

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2017 NX a best-possible 5-Star Overall Rating. Also, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named it a Top Safety Pick+, as it earned perfect scores in all crash tests.

    The 2017 NX comes available with Premium Triple-Beam LED headlamps, Lane Departure Alert, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Intuitive Parking Assist, Pre-Collision System, All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, and heated, auto-dimming exterior mirrors.

    Performance

    The 2017 NX Turbo is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 engine mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission. The powertrain makes a solid 235 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, and it comes standard with front-wheel drive or optional with all-wheel drive. If you have plans to haul a small boat or trailer, you’ll be glad to know that the NX Turbo has a towing capacity of 2,000 pounds. According to EPA estimates, it gets 22 MPG city and 28 MPG highway.

    Pricing

    Starting at $35,285 MSRP

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