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    Wednesday
    Mar082017

    Review: 2017 Lexus CT 200h

    Review of the 2017 Lexus CT 200h

    Drivers in San Jose love the Toyota Prius, and while this flagship hybrid set the bar for all others in its class, it leaves something to be desired for those seeking a luxury experience. Always the problem solver, Lexus stepped in with the CT 200h, a luxury hybrid built on the Prius platform with a refined interior and styling.

    When you take the 2017 Lexus CT 200h out for a test drive, you’ll notice the difference. But before you take one out for a spin, check out our full review:

    Engine

    Powered by the Atkinson Cycle Engine plus Lexus Hybrid Drive, the 2017 CT 200h gets an impressive 43 MPG city and 40 MPG highway, for a combined fuel economy of 42 MPG. Under the hood, it has a 1.8-liter inline-4 engine combined with an AC 650-volt permanent-magnet motor. Together, they make 134 horsepower and 105 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is a smooth electronically controlled CVT, while each model is also equipped with Drive Mode Select for fuel and performance optimization.

    Features

    The 2017 CT 200h has enough standard features to keep any driver happy. Each model includes SmartAccess key fob with push-button start, dual-zone automatic climate control with air filtration, Bluetooth connectivity, USB input, steering wheel-mounted controls, Sirius XM radio, and deluxe audio.

    Additionally, each model has available 10-speaker Lexus Premium Sound System, 3-D Navigation, voice command, HomeLink remote transmitter, Siri Eyes Free, Remote Touch controls, HD Radio, and subscription-free traffic and weather. The available Lexus Enform App Suite gives you access to all your favorite apps for entertainment or convenience, right in your cleanly designed center stack.

    Safety

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

    The CT 200h features standard power-assisted brakes, SmartStop Technology, tire pressure monitoring system, eight airbags, vehicle stability control, traction control, whiplash injury lessening front seatbacks, rigid body structure with crumple zones, and Vehicle Proximity Notification System that emits a sound to notify nearby pedestrians and cyclists. Additionally, you can opt for LED headlights and taillights, Pre-Collision System, Intuitive Parking Assist, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and backup camera with dynamic gridlines.

    Interior

    Inside, the 2017 CT 200h has high-quality materials and detailed craftsmanship, with supportive seating and bright, high-tech displays and gauges. It features eco-friendly NuLuxe interior trim, cargo-area tonneau cover, leather-wrapped steering wheel, bamboo speaker frames, and accessories and trim made from 30% plant-based materials. Those looking for more luxury can add heated front seats, a moonroof, and leather-trimmed interior.

    Pricing

    Starting at $31,250 MSRP

    Wednesday
    Feb222017

    Review: 2017 Lexus GX 460

    When you need a ute that can handle California mountain ranges as easily as it can the streets of San Jose, a truck-based SUV is the route to go. Drivers who also want the latest in tech and a range of luxury features narrow their options down, and one stand-out model remains: the 2017 Lexus GX 460.

    This full-size SUV is a favorite for its powerful drivetrain, distinctive Lexus styling, and best available features and tech. Read on for our full review:

    Features

    The 2017 GX 460 has standard Lexus Premium Audio System for an immersive sound experience inside the otherwise quiet cabin, as well as entertainment with AM/FM/CD, dual USB ports, and Siri Eyes Free iPhone compatibility. Each model is equipped with Enform Service Connect, which gives you remote access to your vehicle’s location, fuel level, maintenance needs, mileage, and more. Meanwhile, Enform Destinations allows drivers 24-hour access to a response center that can help you get where you want to go without a hitch. The standard Enform App Suite lets you use your favorite apps in the center stack display, and Voice Command means you can do so without taking your eyes off the road. You’ll also love the standard Bluetooth technology, subscription-free traffic and weather, HomeLink universal remote, and Sirius XM radio.

    If you’re looking for even more, you have the option to add a Sport Design Package of features, as well as a Navigation Package, Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound Audio Package, and Driver Support Package.

    Safety

    A full-size vehicle comes with responsibility, so Lexus equipped each model of the GX 460 with Full-Time Four-Wheel Drive with Active Traction Control, featuring a TORSEN torque-sensing limited-slip center differential and sensors on all wheels that can detect when the driver is losing control and apply the brakes. There are also 10 airbags throughout the cabin, Active Front Headrests, LED fog lamps and taillights, Rain-Sensing Windshield Wipers, Trailer Sway Control, Smart Stop technology, Backup Camera with Gridlines, Direct Tire Pressure Monitor System, Downhill Assist Control, and Hill-Start Assist Control.

    When you opt for the Driver Support Package, you add a Wide-View Front and Side Monitor System, High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert, Intelligent High-Beam Headlamps, Pre-Collision System with Driver Attention Monitor, and Crawl Control for safer off-roading.

    Engine

    The Lexus GX 460 was built to go from the pavement to the mountains, so Lexus made sure it has enough power and control to handle any terrain. Under the hood, it has a 4.6-liter V8 engine that makes 301 horses of power and 329 lb-ft of torque, mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The full-time four-wheel drive system has a two-speed transfer case and lockable center differential for serious off-road capability and a 6,500-pound towing capacity.

    Pricing

    Starting at $51,680 MSRP

    Wednesday
    Feb152017

    Review: 2017 Lexus NX Turbo

    Drivers in San Jose refuse to compromise, which is why Silicon Valley residents time and again turn to Lexus as their automaker of choice. Timeless design, unrivaled performance, the latest in tech and safety are just a few reasons why it’s a perennial favorite.

    One shining example is the 2017 Lexus NX Turbo, a small luxury crossover with a turbocharged engine and a whole lot of personality. Read on for our full review:

    Safety

    The 2017 NX is a favorite of major safety organizations. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named it a Top Safety Pick+ after it earned perfect scores on all tests. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave it a best possible 5-Star Overall Rating.

    The NX Turbo was built with a rigid body structure with crumple zones, advanced Anti-Lock Braking System with Brake Assist, LED fog lamps and taillights, Direct Tire Pressure Monitor System, Hill-Start Assist Control, eight airbags, Smart Stop technology, Lexus Enform Safety Connect, and backup camera with dynamic gridlines. You also have the option to add a Pre-Collision System with Brake Assist, Blind Spot Monitor, rain-sensing wipers, Lane Departure Alert, Intuitive Parking Assist, and Intelligent High-Beam Headlamps.

    Features

    Each model of the NX has standard power adjustable seats, dual-zone climate control, leather accents, Lexus Display Audio with 7-inch display, voice recognition, and configurable screen. Also standard are Lexus Enform Remote, Siri Eyes Free, HD Radio with iTunes tagging, weather and traffic, Bluetooth connectivity, SmartAccess key fob, and Scout GPS Link navigation that gives you real-time traffic updates, personalized commute times, and automatic traffic avoidance.

    Optional features on the NX Turbo include Lexus Enform Destinations, Enform App Suite, 10-speaker Lexus Premium Sound System, and Qi wireless phone charging tray. The available Remote Touchpad lets you control entertainment and convenience features just like you would on your smartphone, with a swipe, flick, or pinch of your fingers.

    Interior

    This five-passenger crossover has almost 43 inches of legroom in the front, 36.1 inches in the rear, and about 38 inches of headroom, making it a roomy crossover which makes good use of its space. The NX Turbo features NuLuxe seating, a 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat, 8-way power adjustable passenger seat, Lexus Personalized Settings, self-gripping cupholders, 60/40 split folding rear seats, Lexus Memory System, and generous cargo and storage space. You also have the option to add power folding and reclining rear seats, leather accents, outer-sliding moonroof, heated and ventilated seating, perforated leather-trimmed interior.

    Engine

    The 2017 NX Turbo is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 engine that makes 235 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, mated to a continuously variable transmission. This model has a powerful yet efficient engine, getting an EPA-estimated 22 MPG city and 28 MPG highway. You also have the option between front- or all-wheel drive.

    Pricing

    Starting at $35,285 MSRP

    Wednesday
    Feb082017

    Comparison: 2017 Lexus IS vs 2017 BMW 3-Series

    San Jose Comparison Lexus IS vs BMW 3 Series

    If you live in San Jose and are in the market for a luxury sedan with distinctive design, a full suite of features, and a sub-$40K price tag, you’ve got a few solid options. Add to your requirements a standard turbocharged engine, and the choices narrow a bit.

    In the battle between the 2017 Lexus IS and the 2017 BMW 3-Series, one clearly stands out as a better value when you take into consideration standard versus add-on features. Read on for our full review to see which comes out ahead:

    Features

    Lexus IS

    While the IS has a slightly higher MSRP than the 3-Series, it more than makes up for it in standard entertainment and safety features. Each model is equipped with power adjustable seats, moonroof, HID headlights, LED daytime running lights and fog lights, push-button start, keyless entry, Bluetooth connectivity, and Siri Eyes Free Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. The Lexus Enform infotainment system includes a 7-inch VGA screen, USB and auxiliary inputs, and an 8-speaker audio system. You can also choose from a number of premium features that include navigation, 15-speaker Mark Levinson audio, heated steering wheel, and leather interior.

    BMW 3-Series

    The 2017 3-Series has standard faux leather seating, manually adjustable front seats, climate control, and infotainment system with 6.5-inch screen, USB port, Bluetooth, HD radio, and 9-speaker audio system. Available features include surround-view camera, and hands-free trunk.

    Safety

    Lexus IS

    Lexus equipped many of its 2017 models, including the IS, with the Lexus Safety System+. This suite of active driver assistance technologies has been honed over the years by Lexus engineers. While similar systems are usually available on luxury automobiles, they also tend to cost extra, but not when you choose the IS. You and your family will appreciate the Pre-Collision System (PCS), Lane Departure Alert (LDA) with Steering Assist, Intelligent High Beam, and High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.

    BMW 3-Series

    Surprisingly, the 3-Series does not have an option for driver assistance technologies. It does feature airbags, active head restraints, and post-collision sensors that turn off electrical systems in the event of a collision. However, the IS comes with most of these features, in addition to a suite of accident prevention tech.

    Engine

    Lexus IS

    The 2017 IS has a standard 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 engine mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The base engine makes 241 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, and gets up to 32 MPG.

    BMW 3-Series

    The 3-Series also has a standard 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 engine, with the choice between a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission. The base powertrain only delivers 180 horsepower and 200 lb-ft of torque.

    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

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