I've always been fairly straightforward in admitting my love of the Lexus brand. When it comes to their vehicles, my affection tend to be toward their cars, so when the folks at DriveShop delivered one of their bigger rides to Rock Father HQ on-loan from Lexus USA, I was excited to see what an SUV under the Lexus nameplate had to offer. As the name implies, the 2017 Lexus GX460 Luxury is just that - a luxurious option for some big hauling and power.
It's no secret that I'm a fan of Lexus in general, so I was excited to drive the 2017 CT 200h F SPORT when it arrived here at Rock Father HQ some weeks back. Packing Lexus style and F SPORT performance into a small, hatchback package, the immediate draw of the CT 200h is that it's a hybrid - a fuel-efficient, gas-powered luxury vehicle that carries a combined fuel economy of 42mpg.
In my adventures over the years, I've had the opportunity to drive a lot of different vehicles. What I've come to realize is that I'm definitely a "car guy" - meaning that I have little interest in motorcycles, and a limited knowledge of trucks. That doesn't mean that I haven't driven them, as I've been behind the wheel of many, but surprisingly it's full-size pickup trucks that have largely eluded me. That's just one reason why I was so intrigued by the chance to get behind the wheel of the 2017 Toyota Tundra Limited Double Cab - a full-size pickup, and a ride that feels just gigantic compared to what I'm used to. The quick take? I loved it.
Last month, while the folks at Mazda USA were in Southern California doing an unveiling of some of their upcoming rides for 2017, I was here in Northern Illinois enjoying one of their most recent releases - the 2016.5 Mazda CX-5 GT AWD. Now, I think a lot of readers might not be familiar with a mid-model-year update, as it's far less common these days as it used to be. Quite simply, the CX-5 received some updates to carry the '16 into '17, and hence the 2016.5 moniker. Thanks to the unseasonably warm temperatures and some suburbs-to-city adventures I had planned (the Nintendo Switch launch, for one), I was able to spend a solid week with the car, giving it a hands-on evaluation in several conditions. More importantly, I got some real family time in this one, using one of its Mazda siblings (and one of my favorite cars of the past year) for some comparison... the CX-9.
A Special Thank You to Mitsubishi Motors & the DriveShop Chicago Office...
As I type these words, it is literally "the night before Christmas." Right now, at this very moment, the sounds of A Christmas Story can be heard emitting from the television in our family room. Both my wife and our youngest daughter are asleep on the couch (our oldest is finally asleep upstairs after a bit of Xmas Eve naughtiness), as the twinkle of lights has placed a magical, very comfortable vibe on the house. I finished prepping tomorrow's turkey, and now here I am - in my office, typing away while awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus, and reflecting on what a busy holiday season this has been - one capping another busy year. While my family is always on my mind, tonight I'm also thinking of others, hoping that the third annual "Rock Father Santa" program was able to do some good. A few weeks back, our family hit the road once more, making our annual toy delivery in one of my favorite new vehicles serving as this year's "sleigh" - the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander. I know we've done good, but I can't help but think that we could've done better... and that bothers me.
When it comes to family adventures, road trips are great, and getting great gas mileage is even better. Over the past few years, hybrids have come down in price, while also becoming quite stylish - style being something that was seriously lacking in the early generations. At the forefront of the movement, Toyota has been a pioneer in the field, with their Prius becoming synonymous with the "hybrid" name, that technology eventually rolling into other models, expanding their offerings to a full nine vehicles for 2017. Among them, the 2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid is set to be one of their most popular, and there's some solid reasons as to why.