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First Drive: 2017 Acura NSX

2017 Acura NSX.

The 2017 Acura NSX will disappoint a lot of people on the internet.

People will complain the NSX should be normally aspirated, complain the car is too heavy, too complicated, complain that Japan’s supercar should not be built in Ohio. People will (check the comments on other sites, they already are) complain the new NSX is not the old NSX. Acura knows this and does Acura does not care because the new NSX is not about the past. After all, the “N” in NSX stands for “New”.

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Boeing 747-400: First “Drive” and Initial Impressions

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Anyone who likes airplanes and aviation probably has at least a small appreciation for the Boeing 747. For most of us though, the 747 is symbolic of the modern age of air travel as well as being something of an engineering marvel. I grew up with an aviation obsession and always knew that I wanted to be a pilot, so for me the 747 was like lofty life goal that I could hopefully someday achieve.

There are countless books and TV shows that can tell you the history and engineering of the airplane, but there aren’t a lot of sources that will tell you what it’s like to fly the airplane from a pilot’s perspective. I’ve been fortunate enough to achieve my childhood dreams and eke out a living as a professional pilot. Just recently, I started a new job and finished training on the 747-400.

My intent here is to provide a sort of “first drive” perspective for aviators and enthusiasts alike. As of this writing, I have less than 100 hours of flight time in the airplane but I wanted to use this new period to make more thorough comparisons to airplanes I’ve flown in the past before the 747 becomes completely familiar to me.

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First Drive: 2017 Kia Sportage SX 2.0T

It’s been over twenty years since the first release of the Kia Sportage. Since the mid 90’s, automotive market segments have become quite skewed. Gone are the days of the family wagon and the cross country trips to Wally World. Without question, crossovers are the hot ticket of desire with the majority of manufacturers due to the demands of consumers, and profits being high on their priority lists. Because of this you cannot fault anybody for making crossovers because they simply cannot sell enough of them.

Kia invited me to test the newest version of the Sportage in my lovely Southern California hometown of San Diego, to see how it stacks up in this highly competitive and saturated market.

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First Drive: 2016 Infiniti Q50S Red Sport 400

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This car is incredibly important to Infiniti, as it’s the best selling vehicle for the brand… that means this updated version has to be good. Enter the 2016 Infiniti Q50S Red Sport 400.

It’s the version we recently got to sample, and that three-digit number at the end of the name relates to the amount of horsepower the engine is cranking out. It comes by way of the twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine. The VQ is gone so say hello to the new VR Series of engines. You might miss some of the old noise but the new power levels and they way in which it’s all delivered is great.

This Q50 marks a return to the fun-to-drive G sedan and coupe we remember. It’s eager to spin its tires, get sideways, and have plenty of fun.

Here we get a First Drive taste of the car, stand by for a longer review in the coming weeks.

[Disclaimer: Infiniti wanted me to check out the new Red Sport 400, so it flew me to San Antonio and put me up in a hotel that used to be an old brewery. Food and drinks were had on the Infiniti dime as well.]

First Drive: 2016 Nissan Titan XD
Carving out space in the heavy-duty truck segment

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You tow things. You have toys that get dirty, a camper or a boat. You’re going to need a truck that can handle the heft you’re hauling, and this means deciding on playing within the 1/2-ton segment or jumping into the world of the 3/4-ton. There’s a fair difference between those trucks, and one can often find themselves either wishing they’d stepped up to the 3/4-ton pickup or perhaps finding that they barely use the capabilities of a 3/4 and could’ve saved tons of dough by opting for the 1/2 ton.

This is where the 2016 Nissan Titan XD comes into play, and it’s an “in-betweener” truck that’s hoping to capture those fluctuating between big boys toys and, well, bigger boys toys. It’s tough to make a name for yourself in the full-size truck segment unless you’ve got a Ford of Chevy badge on the front (Fine, Ram too… but to a lesser degree, based on sales numbers). Nissan is looking to carve out its own niche with the Titan XD, and snag some market share from both sides of pickup party fence.

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Classic Nameplates: Volvo brings back the S90 saloon for 2016

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For a number of Volvo drivers, the S90 badge stands for the last “real” Volvo. It was indeed the last one in a long line of rear wheel drive Volvos, and it was more closely related to the early-1980s 740/760 than the added plushness and filed corners wanted to make clear. But everybody knew what a straight piece of iron it was, and a lot of people loved the cars for it – the V90 wagon included.

In a satisfying turn of events, the S90-replacing S80 name is now being replaced by, yes, S90 again. For 2016, Volvo unveils this larger, more menacing, more noticeable executive saloon that has nothing apologetic about its design. Make the jump for more photos.

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First Drive: 2016 Honda Civic

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We’ve come a long way from that first Honda Civic… This is the 2016 Civic, and it’s the 10th generation of Honda’s plucky compact. For the first time, the American Honda team has led the development of the car, and they’ve given us a Civic that’s incredibly well rounded. It should be, considering that Honda looked towards German premium and luxury vehicles for inspiration.

This is our first taste of the new Honda Civic. We’re eager to get our grubby mitts on the upcoming Civic Si and definitely on the Civic Type R. For now though, we’ll settle for an initial sampling of the all-new machine by starting with the Civic Sedan Turbo, and it’s new 1.5-liter forced-induction mill.

[Disclaimer: Honda flew my but from Boston (where I was visiting family) to NY to sample its latest Civic. They put food in my belly, and gave me a place to sleep as well.]

First Drive: 2016 Infiniti QX50

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One of the main reasons you wouldn’t have purchased an Infiniti QX50 (Formerly the EX35), was that the rear-seat legroom bordered on cruel and unusual punishment. Fix that issue and you might just wind up with something enjoyable for those of us who actually like driving their cars and crossovers.  Infiniti did just that with the refreshed 2016 QX50, so we trekked down to San Diego to see how it stacks up.

Under the hood sits a 325-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 and it can send power out to the rear wheels or through an all-wheel-drive system, depending on which model you opt for. The performance is solid, the styling is lightly updated, and there is now room to sit in that second row.

Add in the value proposition for those shopping in the compact luxury crossover segment, and the QX50 might have just bought itself a few more useful years until it needs a full redesign.

[Disclaimer: Infiniti put us on a train and put us up in a San Diego hotel so we could sample the all-new QX50. I “sampled” some beers in the hotel later that night…]

How I learned to stop worrying and love the Miata: A quick drive

Right now, Mazda is touring the nation with their new Miata, letting the faithful from far and wide experience the fourth coming of everyones favorite roadster. I was lucky enough to get to tackle Austin Driveway (a local track with a few fun turns) in a 2016 MX-5 in Grand Touring trim and with the 6 speed manual. Here are my quick thoughts on the car, the experience, and whether it’s the savior of all things driving. … Continue Reading

First Drive: Rezvani Beast
Coachbuilding is back?

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You don’t hear about coachbuilt cars anymore. Back in the day, you used to pick a chassis or platform, and then you’d bring it to the company you’d want building the body for it. It still happens, but it’s quite rare and often quite expensive.

Ferris Rezvani wants to alter that a little bit. His latest creation is called the Beast and at $140-$150,000 it’s still expensive. Considering what you’re getting, however, maybe it’s a bit of a deal. It’s certainly a return to the day good ole days of coachbuilding passed…

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