First Drive: 2016 Nissan Sentra

2016 Nissan Sentra - angle

The 2016 Nissan Sentra gets a facelift, including a new front grille, as part of a substantial mid-cycle refresh for this compact car. About 20% of the Sentra has been changed, which is about three times the change in a refresh design and makes the Sentra’s look consistent with the changes we’re seeing in Nissan’s sedan lineup. I drove the new Sentra on a gorgeous, sunny day in Orange County with some spectacular coastline views and plenty of city driving settings.

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Lincoln brings back the Continental

Lincoln is bringing back the iconic Continental name for its new flagship sedan for the 2017 model year. The full-size, luxury sedan will be available in the fall of 2017 in the US and China.

Lincoln’s new signature grille grabs your attention immediately as the most distinctive feature of the new Continental. It will be interesting to see how this new grille starts to impact the design of other models in the Lincoln line-up, as it’s such a departure from the more modern and stylized grille currently dominating Lincoln designs. This new grille offers a more classic and traditional look. It’s elegant and appropriate for a luxury line, and it may be representative of the design direction Lincoln needs to follow to reclaim its traditional place among the top luxury brands in the US. I’ve heard some feedback that the new look is too similar to other luxury brands like Bentley, and while that may be a fair criticism, the new front end certainly looks good on this new vehicle.

“The Continental name has long been associated with the ultimate in Lincoln beauty and luxury,” said Kumar Galhotra, president of Lincoln. “With the all-new model, we are focusing on creating more human, personally tailored experiences for our clients – providing what we call quiet luxury.”

Lincoln is stressing all of the luxury and comfort offered by the new Continental, but I’m most interested in the all-new Lincoln-exclusive 3.0-liter V6 engine with twin turbochargers that produces a projected 400 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft. of torque. We can see from the photos that the new design is worthy of the Continental name, so I’m anxious to drive the vehicle and see of the entire experience lives up to that standard as well.


First Drive: 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C

The 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C is different. It’s packaged lightning, and the package is pretty impressive.

This Italian-made pocket rocket is the first of a slew of Alfa Romeos headed to this market. And if the 4C is any indication, then there is a new player in the luxury performance game and the engineers from Modena, Italy are to be taken seriously.

Our test car was 157.5 inches long, 73.5 inches wide, and at 46.6 inches, it wasn’t even four feet tall. That meant we had to slide down into the 4C, and it was almost like sliding down into a not-so-shallow bathtub, and then had to climb our way back out.

If ever there was a pretentious test for friends, female and male alike, getting into and out of the Alfa Romeo 4C is it. But the slide into the tub was worth it. The Alfa Romeo 4C is a palpitating piece of machinery.

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First Drive: 2016 Nissan GT-R

2016 Nissan GT-R 45th Anniversary Gold Edition

Yes, the 2+2 GT-R looks great. It has a severely sloping roof, huge quad exhaust pipes, four LED headlights, matching four-ringed taillights and a fixed wing on the trunk; muscular wheel wells and aero blades on the fenders’ edges provides optimum airflow around the tires and along the body.

As slick as this car looks, however, the sheet metal covers up the fact that GT-R this is a supercar. For the uninitiated, that means the GT-R’s top speed is in the 200 mph category.

And its nitrogen-filled, high-performance run flat 20-inch tires suggest that the Nissan GT-R can achieve its top speed of 196 mph. The 3.8-liter dual turbocharged V6 engine generates 545 horsepower and 463 foot-pounds of torque. The dual clutch six-speed automatic transmission shifts gears at warp speed.

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First Drive: 2016 Lexus RX


I was invited by Lexus to Charleston, South Carolina to test drive the redesigned RX crossover. The traditional and historic setting of Charleston offered an interesting contrast to the sleek and ultra-modern design of the new RX, and the vehicle offered a very comfortable and luxurious mode of transportation as we toured some of the historic sites around this iconic Southern city.

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