Car Review: 2014 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR

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It’s not easy to pack the punch of a sports car into a four-door sedan while keeping the price reasonable for the general public. But Mitsubishi did just that with the 2014 Lancer Evolution GSR, and after a week of testing, there is no doubt that the Lancer Evolution can run the streets with the best of them out there!

EXTERIOR

The large, rear wing spoiler on the 2014 Lancer Evolution GSR is definitely old school and adds so much style with something so simple. But so much of what you see on the Lancer Evolution GSR isn’t just for looks, but for performance as well. Further aiding the tractability cause is a set of highly adhesive 245/40R18 low-profile Yokohama Advan asymmetrical performance tires clad to lightweight 18-in. x 8.5-in. wheels with the Lancer Evolution GSR model wearing Enkei cast-alloy rims. Also adding to the sleek exterior are flared fenders, aluminum roof panel, aluminum front fenders with vents and aluminum hood with hear extractor vents.

INTERIOR

The best way to describe the interior of the 2014 Lancer Evolution GSR is modern with no frills! That’s not to say that the latest technology and comfort features aren’t present, but even with all of those extras, there is no mistaken that this car is about performance. Our test model was loaded with recaro black leather seats, power glass sunroof, heated front seats, center console upgrade, sound dampening enhancement, auto A/C with micron filter, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, high contrast sport meter gauges, color multi-information display, steering wheel-mounted cruise control and audio switches, 6.1-inch touchscreen display audio and Fuse hands-free link system with USB port. The seats are strong, but being the larger person that I am, they felt a bit small and uncomfortable at times.

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Car Review: 2014 Lexus IS 250 AWD F Sport

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The 2014 Lexus IS 250 AWD F Sport grabs your attention from the moment you first see it and kept our attention throughout the one-week test drive. The third-generation 2014 IS sport sedan features a bold design highlighted by the new dynamic signature spindle grille and for the first time separated LED Daytime Running Lights which are as cool as any on the road today. A combination of “aggressive elegance,” a more powerful road presence and a stronger brand identity help make the new IS models more alluring than ever.

EXTERIOR

The available F SPORT package as tested included unique 18-inch wheels with ultra-white paint that made a bonafied first impression on all that gave us feedback. Some notables that played key roles in the good-looking IS 250 F Sport was the further evolution of the spindle grille from the GS and LS models, featuring a more three-dimensional design with a chrome-plated frame and darker gray insert from top to bottom, standard HID low/high beam headlamps with LED DRLs and available twin projector LED low/ high beam headlamps, F SPORT exclusive colors (Ultra White, Ultrasonic Blue Mica, Obsidian and Matador Red Mica), and a wheelbase that has been increased by nearly three inches. Width has been increased by nearly half an inch for an aggressive stance.

INTERIOR

This isn’t your father’s Lexus, as the IS 250 AWD F Sport has the attitude of a premium sports car with the functionality of the smartest luxury sedan all wrapped into one superb interior space. The driver can appreciate improved seating position and headroom, while the rear seat offers significantly improved roominess, ingress and egress. Separating the shocks from the springs results in a larger trunk as well.

New luxuries abound in the 2014 Lexus IS. A high-efficiency dual-zone climate control system uses new, touch-sensitive electrostatic temperature switches. The IS offers two multimedia systems: a standard high-resolution Lexus Display Audio (LDA) with controller or the optional Lexus navigation system. The navigation system is operated via a second-generation Lexus Remote Touch Interface (RTI) multi-function control device, which also allows control of the climate, audio, phone controls and more. New interior design with LFA-inspired, driver-focused cockpit and enhanced rear seat roominess and luggage capacity earned high marks from drivers and passengers alike.

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Car Review: 2014 Hyundai Equus Signature

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Off a refresh for 2014, the Hyundai Equus strikes an elegant look with V8 power under the hood that will impress on her own. The 2014 Equus premium luxury sedan arrives with enhancements to exterior and interior design, vehicle dynamics, material selection, driver technology displays and advanced safety features. The week behind the wheel of the Equus was a real eye opener as to what affordable luxury feels like!

EXTERIOR

No worries on whether the 2014 Equus Signature can compete with other luxury sedans here, as during our test time with the Equus, this car was even mistaken for a Rolls Royce! The 2014 Equus exterior enhancements convey a premium-sport design message, starting with a new 19-inch turbine-blade alloy wheel design in a polished silver finish that relays motion whether parked or on the open highway. The front grille chrome bars are thinner, with sharper contrast to the blacked-out portions of the grille for a sportier look. The front fascia also has been redesigned, with the former chrome accents removed in favor of a modern premium appearance that includes lower fascia opening strakes. The headlamps offer jeweled design elements and include chrome contrasted with black-out finishes for a distinctive appearance. New LED fog lamps are now standard. Side mirrors have been redesigned for enhanced aerodynamics and tail lamp graphics move to a more horizontal theme.

INTERIOR

Until you drive the Equus, you really don’t appreciate the high-end luxury that is incorporated into the cabin space. The 2014 Equus interior perfectly complements the enhancements to its exterior to the satisfaction of the most discerning car buyer. Thus, the themes of premium and performance again greet the driver behind the wheel. The entire instrument panel and center stack have been redesigned with more premium materials and an ergonomically-correct layout, with new button iconography for quicker and easier feature recognition. The center console and shift lever reveal more premium material selection and contemporary premium-luxury design cues. Steering wheel control layout has been improved, with new low-sheen button designs and icons. Similarly, rear passengers will enjoy a new rear console and button layout, with available dual 9.2-inch, high-resolution, adjustable seatback video screens to enjoy movies, audio media, HVAC or seating functions. Rear passengers can even search restaurant locations and provide navigation system directions directly to the driver’s navigation screen. The premium leather seats and microfiber suede headliner really set the tone for a high-quality space. We drove the Equus in zero degree temperature during a frigid midwest winter and the fast heating seats were our favorite comfort feature of the car! Also, the Lexicon 7.1 discrete surround sound audio system with a whopping 17 speakers is one of the best we have heard in an automobile.

The climate control system now offers three distinct cabin temperature zones for driver, passenger and rear passengers. The standard smart cruise control system has been enhanced to include a full 0-mph stop-and-start function for use in stop-and-go traffic. The smart proximity key now includes both key-fob and card-key types of vehicle entry for greater driver convenience.

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Car Review: 2014 Lexus RX 350

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There are certain vehicles that you know are special from the first time you see it, and that’s exactly how we felt regarding the 2014 Lexus RX 350. There’s no question that Lexus created the blueprint for the luxury crossover utility vehicle 15 years ago with the original RX models. The 2014 RX 350 maintains its segment leadership by evolving that original and admired formula.

EXTERIOR

From the bold, brand-signature spindle grille, to the classy 19-inch alloy wheel with all-season tires, the 2014 Lexus RX 350 arrives in style. The distinctive skin of this SUV makes an impression with sharp LED daytime running lamps, Xenon HID headlamps, rain sensing wipers, power folding electrochromic heated outside mirrors with blind spot monitor and roof rails. The silky smooth skin is highlighted with a rear taillights and hatch that blend in so discreet that they look like one piece of sheet metal. The styling has evolved from the early days of the RX 350, but the overall shape hasn’t drifted too far from the original, and that’s what you call staying power in the marketplace!

INTERIOR

The upscale ambience in the Lexus RX 350 cabin is just the beginning of a customized experience every time you set foot in the fabulous interior. Lexus interiors have set new standards in design, materials, standard features and details, and the RX 350 shows why. The 10-way power front seats, ebony or espresso bird’s eye maple and dual-zone automatic climate control system set the tone for the luxury found throughout the cabin. The RX 350 upholds another Lexus tradition: the inclusion of true premium audio as standard equipment. The nine-speaker Lexus Premium Audio System offers a multitude of music source choices, including a CD player, SiriusXM Satellite Radio capability with a 90-day trial subscription included, Bluetooth audio streaming and USB/iPod control. The seats are truly made for each individual driver and passenger, enhancing the driving experience for all.

The Display Audio/Rear Backup Camera Package upgrades the audio system to 12 speakers. For the ultimate in mobile sound, Lexus exclusively offers Mark Levinson audio systems, a brand revered by audiophiles. The RX 350’s as-tested 15-speaker Mark Levinson Surround Sound system will delight discerning ears, no matter the music choice. The system delivers 330 total watts of power through a 15-speaker array with an incredibly low 0.1 percent total harmonic distortion (THD). Clearly one of the finest audio systems we experienced in a review vehicle.

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Car Review: 2014 Toyota Tundra 4 x 4 Platinum

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The redesigned 2014 Toyota Tundra has the opportunity to establish new markets, because from the time you see this beast, it makes an impression. For our test model, Toyota upgraded us to a Platinum 4 x 4 version, and it came in handy in the subzero snowy Ohio winter conditions.

EXTERIOR

For 2014, the Tundra sports a new chiseled exterior design that has a distinctive look for the full-size truck segment. Tundra is newly designed, inside and out, representing a major change since the 2007 model year. Each Tundra grade embodies a specific theme through distinct designs that go beyond badging, and that includes the high-end luxury Platinum series. The new front design integrates the hood and grille for a chiseled image. Designers increased the size of the front fascia and tightened up the surfaces and character lines to visually punctuate Tundra’s pulling power and wide stance. The grille has a taller, bolder look, visually connecting the upper intake to the lower bumper. The front lower bumpers are now a three-piece design, allowing for lower replacement costs. In addition, the fenders and wheel wells have been squared-off for a wide and sturdy stance.

A new exterior design helps carry the chiseled character lines all the way down the profile, leading to a rugged new bed and tailgate, with an integrated spoiler and “TUNDRA” embossed into the sheet metal, creating a one-piece forged look. Like the front bumper, the rear bumper changes from one piece to three, for lower replacement costs. Tundra offers a palette of nine exterior colors including three new colors: Attitude Black Metallic, Sunset Bronze Mica and Blue Ribbon Metallic. Popular carryover colors include Radiant Red, Super White, Silver Sky Metallic, Magnetic Gray Metallic, Black and Barcelona Red. The Magnetic Gray Metallic that our test model carried fit this truck very well.

INTERIOR

There are no boundaries in the cabin space of the 2014 Toyota Tundra 4 x 4 Platinum, as you need a separate area code for each passenger! Really, this is an awesome interior space with a luxury cap-off from the Platinum grade. Tundra features new contemporary interior styling focusing on differentiation between grades, while improving the availability of features most important to truck buyers. The new interior variations are thematic and cater to a specific customer with a specific budget. Ergonomic improvements include easier driver access to controls as the reach to the audio and HVAC controls was reduced by 2.6 inches. Overall passenger comfort was improved with a new front and rear (CrewMax) seat design and improved front seat ventilation. In addition, front seats have additional travel, and rear seats can now be folded up for additional cargo carrying capability, while maintaining a comfortable seating back angle and lowering load height by more than 11 inches.

Tundra features a number of key standard features and is the only truck in the full-size pickup segment to include a standard back-up camera (viewed from the audio display screen and standard Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio streaming on all grades. Platinum models come with standard dual zone air conditioning with individual temperature settings for driver and front passenger. An auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass and HomeLink universal transceiver is standard on Platinum grades. The Platinum and 1794 Edition come standard with a 12-way power driver’s seat with memory and a six-way power passenger’s seat, both with heat and ventilation, power moon roof, power tilt/telescopic steering wheel, front and rear parking sonar, and Entune Premium JBL Audio with Navigation and App Suite. Additionally, the 2014 Tundra is the only full-size pickup with available Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert!

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