Auto Lifestyle Reviews by @1COOLDADME
Mike Tucker is a D.C. native and journalist of fine automobiles for over 10 years. He is a single dad of three who believes in unique sneakers, great tunes, delicious food and GOD.
BEST OF 2015 TEST DRIVES
by Mike Tucker, Jr.
GMC Yukon Denali 2015
When you think GMC you may think rigid or even obsolete but when you add Denali to the phrase you are always in for a treat. Yukon Denali is like a craft beer, manly yet refined. The remote start will get you heart racing if its good looks don’t and the power retractable running boards lift you to a higher level of American luxury. The 8-inch color touchscreen is your main display to interact with an intelligent infotainment system that includes a third row DVD screen and head up display that projects your speed on your driver front windshield.
Whip Appeal – Handsome inside and out, the Yukon Denali is laced in chrome through its exterior grill and wheels, while the leather wrapped interior give the massive SUV the comfort of home.
Price Tag: $68,380 base ($77,965 tested)
Power: 6.2L V8 Cylinder 420 horsepower
Transmission: Hydra-Matic Six-Speed Automatic
Drivetrain: Four-Wheel Drive
Fuel Economy (mpg): 14-city/ 20-hwy
2015 Nissan Rogue
The Nissan Rogue packs a lot in a small package like an expandable suitcase carryon. This one seats seven, albeit not seven large adults but for a growing family this could work. All-wheel-drive is great for all conditions and the continuously variable transmission allows an otherwise weak 4-cylinder engine to swing a solid punch quickly, when called upon. The panoramic sunroof and Bose premium system add to the luxury flavor while hill decent assist and active braking and ride control up the technology ante.
Whip Appeal – The Rogue will not turn head but vehicle in the subcompact SUV category seldom do. The appeal is in cozy little comfortable zippy SUV with enough amenities to share and enough room to spare.
Price Tag: $29,630 base ($32,480 tested)
Power: 2.5L DOHC I-4 (Cylinder) 170 horsepower
Transmission: Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) with Sport Drive Mode
Drivetrain: All-Wheel Drive
Fuel Economy (mpg): 25-city/ 32-hwy
2015 Mazda6 I Grand Touring
Soul red with almond leather, the new Mazda6 I Grand Touring was a sight to behold, if you have ever paid attention to a Mazda sedan and more can be said by in the fact that you may have never paid much attention at all. The look has upscale appeal with curves to give it an edginess. The Grand Touring model comes equipped with leather seats, 19-inch wheels and a growly six speed automatic with Sport mode.
Whip Appeal – The new Mazda6 looks expensive, feels comfortable and spacious, accelerates like it has a little attitude but all the while it is a fun to drive mid-sized family ride with excellent fuel economy and a reasonable sticker price given the goodies inside.
Price Tag: $29,895 base ($33,320 tested)
Power: 2.5L 4 Cylinder 184 horsepower
Transmission: SkyActive Drive 6-Speed Sport
Drivetrain: Front-Wheel Drive
Fuel Economy (mpg): 28-city/ 40-hwy
2016 Acura TLX
When driving or considering the Acura TLX, be mindful of the midsize luxury model segment. Its competitors include Audi A4, Volvo S60 and Mercedes Benz C-Class. On many levels the TL is up to challenge and then some. I actually prefer the TL over most of its class but that’s if your wallet can handle the weight. Acura TLX’s ease of handling compliment a plushly comfortable cockpit while not taking away from power under the hood or connection to the road when the need for speed beckons.
The Tech Package offered a state-of-the-art navigation system with keen voice recognition, blind spot detection, forward collision warning, lane keeping assist and a feature that alerts you to cars coming as you back out of a parking space. As intelligent as the TLX is it never goes full nerd maintaining an elegant coolness in stature and drive that almost makes it worth its price tag.
Price Tag: $44,800 base ($45,720 tested)
Power: 3.5L V6 Cylinder 290 horsepower
Transmission: 9 Speed Automatic
Drivetrain: All-Wheel Drive
Fuel Economy (mpg): 21-city/ 31-hwy
2016 Kia Sedona SXL
The Kia Sedona will always be welcomed at my house, so much so that I am considering purchasing one for my growing family. This van is cool with an SUV feel and drivability that will make you forget it is a van. As spacious as it is, Kia fills it with features. Backseat love is amazing with dual power sunroofs which allows the kids in the back to lay back in the recliner seats, plug in and tune out. Other cool features include, a smart lift gate for easy access to the rear when your hands are full of stuff which is often for a parent.
When you need to leave it all behind the Kia Sedona has enough horses under the hood to lead the pack and enough comfort inside to stay on the road as long as there is gas in the tank.
Price Tag: $39,900 base ($44,690 tested)
Power: 3.3L V6 Cylinder 276 horsepower
Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic w/ Sportmatic
Drivetrain: All-Wheel Drive
Fuel Economy (mpg): 17-city/ 22-hwy
Outside The Box 2013 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design
When the Volvo S60 T6 R-Design arrived at my home I was struck most by its’ clear Caribbean Sea hue before I noticed the shape the color enveloped. The boxy Volvo of the past is history, a moment of silence please, for the Baby Boomer Volvo fans. Volvo’s grab at a younger audience went hip on design, technology and at a feverish pace.
Volvo’s new design aggressively grabs your attention. From the 18-inch Alloy wheels, to the aluminum accented mirrors and exhaust pipes, the new S60 R -Design caused double takes and begged the rhetorical question, “Is that a Volvo?” It is distinctly unique, but distinctly Volvo at the same time. Yes, it’s a Volvo.
Instead of staying in its own lane, Volvo is entering the arena to go tire to tire with the competition. Competitors like the Volkswagen CC, BMW328i, Acura TL and Audi A4, assure the Volvo S60 doesn’t have an easy road ahead. Still, the vehicle is up to the task and likely to entice a few new converts while giving traditional Volvo owners something for show and tell. READ MORE …
Fast & Curious 2012 C250 Benz Coupe (WashPost.com/RootDC)
But with the new 2012 C250, Mercedes has brought sexy back to the C-Class.
I was so infatuated by new model that I chose not to review the press info accompanying the car. Instead, I took to the road. I did grab my phone with Sy Smith’s “Fast and Curious” CD downloaded on it. It’s a disc with a fitting title to review with the C250.
A Super SONIC Date Night (WashPost.com/RootDC)
In thinking of things to do for date night, you should shake the rose bush sometime and do something out of the ordinary. One example is driving a miniature turbo-charged car that gets 40 miles to the gallon off a cliff. If you missed this Super Bowl commercial, check out the daredevil 2012 Chevrolet Sonic in stunt action, here. I opted to drive the Chevy Sonic on a date to the still-in-construction Hyattsville Arts District.
As for date night itself, try something fun and different with your partner. I chose to literally wet her palate and mine in a painting class at Wet Your Palettes.
What the Fiat? (WashPost.com/RootDC)
Seriously, what the Fiat is going on?
Maybe you missed this sexy little commercial involving a nerd, a woman in high heels, a cup of coffee and a Fiat. It zoomed pass one million views on Youtube the first week it was posted.
Going Raw in DC w/ Chevy Volt (WashPost.com/RootDC)
When I found out I would get a chance to test the electric-powered Chevy Volt, I called
Elizabeth’s Gone Raw, a vegan restaurant, to incorporate food into my equation of extreme firsts. Sure, you can go hybrid, but why not go electric! Sure, you can go vegan, but why not go raw! With a blindfolded sense of anxiety and anticipation, I was ready.
Lexus’ Recyclable Whip (WashPost.com/theRootDC)
I review the new Lexus CT200 h while listening to Maimouna Youssef’s new CD.
I figured a conscious vehicle, like the CT claims to be, deserves like-minded music.
The Lexus CT and The Blooming are concepts built for mainstream consumption but at the core unabashedly push the limits to better their environment and community.
Cadillac is Still Platinum (WashPost.com/theRootDC)
The year was 2007. Rap artists were going platinum once a week. Kanye West and 50 Cent were feuding over who would sell more albums in one day. And Cadillac had taken note that 20-something black men were flocking to their luxurious experiment of an SUV, the Escalade. So the car-maker remixed it.
Taking a cue from music labels’ listening parties, General Motors held a private showing of its new Escalade to special invited athletes and, of course, hip-hop artists. The longer high-end Escalade tagged “Platinum” with bigger rims and heftier price tag was a smash and Cadillac’s average buyers age went from old fogy to young hip urbanite. The Escalade in any format has been platinum ever since.
SOUL GARAGE, RIBS and I’m Audi (Wash Post.com/theRootDC)
At a glance, there is something nostalgic about the 2011 Audi A5 Cabriolet. There was a time when Audis were actually pretty heavy in Chocolate City (a term in itself that is nostalgic now). To have an Audi you had to have money, but you also had to have your own cool to drive outside the lines of Mercedes Benz or BMW.
This is still the case. Audi owners beat to their own drum and for this day my drum of choice was congo, as homegrown talent would grace the big stage at Merriweather Post Pavilion.