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Hooniverse Ride Along: Polaris RZR 900 EPS

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The ethos of Hooniverse is the love for all things with wheels and an engine (or motor for the electric-powered offerings). When the opportunity arises to drive some stellar trails in ATV’s and Side-By-Sides we would be foolish to turn down the opportunity.

At this years Motor Press Guild Droptops & Dirt event in beautiful Malibu, Polaris brought out a few of their newest products. Todays focus is on the RZR 900 EPS and the high amounts of giggling fun that ensued.

Because I’m clumsy I went for the more enclosed option between a Side-By-Side and an ATV. Its 75 horsepower is more than enough to scoot this along. For those who thrive on numbers, 0-40mph is over in 3.76 seconds, and it’s enough to get the “throttle happy” into a bit of trouble on the trails. But it’s by no means scary. The capabilities and ease of use means the most novice driver can enjoy it.

Please disregard all my hooting and hollering (yes I’m Texan), it was an absolute blast to drive.

Jaguar XJL: Long, Luxurious, and Lightweight

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If you’re shopping in the full-size luxury sedan segment, things are going well in your life. This is an expensive place to party, but you’re going to wind up going home with a winner.

This is a space dominated by Germany and Japan. We have the BMW 7-Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi A8, and the Lexus LS. There are others, of course. Some a bit less expensive and others costing as much as a condo or a house.

Somewhere in between all of that lies the Jaguar XJL. It’s a long-wheelbase sedan from the kitty company that’s now known for its rip-roaring V8s. How can the automaker’s full-size four-door get away then, with packing a 3.0-liter V6 under the hood here?

Well you add a supercharger to push power to 340-horsepower. You also build the body panels from aluminum to keep the weight down.

To take things even further, you create a seriously lux interior space, add way more style, and then price the thing better than the rest of the competition…

[Disclaimer: Jaguar tossed us the keys to the XJL, loaned us the car for a week, and included a tank of gas. During that time I founded a new hedge fund and bought a Hatteras because if felt like I could… the hedge fund is bankrupt and, if the insurance company asks, the boat was sunk off Catalina island by “pirates”.]

First (Track) Drive: 2016 Cadillac ATS-V

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Cadillac has been cooking up some sweet V-Series machines for a few years now. Every new iteration brings about a more refined and compelling package. Such is the case with the all-new 2016 Cadillac ATS-V.

With its available manual gearbox, magnetic ride control, and 464-horsepower twin-turbocharged V6 engine, it should prove to be quite the potent performer.

We trekked to Willow Springs Raceway to find out if that’s the case. Here’s a spoiler for you: The car’s awesome.

Nissan GT-R Nismo: Do you love the latest & greatest?

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The Nissan GT-R has been a bit of a polarizing machine since it’s arrived years ago. Some love it while others feel it can be a bit soulless.

Regardless, there’s no denying its potent performance. Additionally, the car has only gotten faster, better, and more potent year after year. The latest and greatest version has spent time with the capable hands from the Nissan Motorsports division; otherwise known as NISMO.

The GT-R Nismo ups the crazy speed. It ups the crazy levels of grip, acceleration, stopping performance, and overall track-focused insanity.

Maybe it finally ups the number of people who love it for the absolutely focused machine that it is…

[Disclaimer: Nissan tossed us the keys to the GT-R Nismo for a few days. Our heart and brain thank them… our back has different feelings.]

Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen Wagon(wagen)

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You want a vehicle that can do 99% of everything that you think you need it to do? I have the perfect vehicle for you. It’s called a “wagon”, and it utilizes plenty of cargo room mixed with great driving dynamics and solid styling.

Oh you don’t like that idea? YOU’RE WRONG!

Say hello to the Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen, and say hello to a vehicle that will handle nearly all of your daily needs. It has loads of cargo space, returns tremendous fuel economy with the TDI motor, and is available rather nicely equipped for right around $30,000.

Stop buying crossovers. Start buying wagons… this one is a good one to start with.

[Disclaimer: Volkswagen tossed us the keys to this Golf Sportwagen and included a tank of the oil burning fuel. We barely dipped into it, despite putting a fair amount of miles on the car. Even with my fat foot, it has massive range per tank.]

Audi RS5 Cabriolet – Feel the wind in your hair… and in your wallet

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The Audi RS5 is a sort of lone wolf in a strange land. Four-passenger, two-door convertibles are a rare breed, and they get far more rare when you throw in terms like “all-wheel-drive”, “aggressive”, “V8”, and performance. That’s what we’re dealing with here, and it’s hard to compare the RS5 Cabriolet to other vehicles on the market.

Under the hood we have a rather delightful 4.2-liter V8 that produces 450 horsepower and just under 320 pound-feet of torque. There’s plenty of power on tap, and it’s metered out to all four wheels by way of the seven-speed S-tronic gearbox. My issues with the car begin here.

… Continue Reading

2002 Corvette Z06 – Plentiful Power Priced Right

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Usually when you meet your heroes you end up highly disappointed. I’ve driven all sorts of Corvettes ranging from a 1969 427 Stingray to a C4 ZR-1 and a C6 ZO6 at Bondurant. Sure I’ve driven C5’s before and yes the automatic is as terrible as everybody says that it is, but the Z06 was a bit of a Corvette unicorn for me. Years ago I got to see brand new C5 ZO6’s on the dealer showroom but I never did get a chance to sample the flavor of the C5 Z06… until now.

Friend of Hooniverse Rick Radcliffe went out and bought one. And his very clean driver example finally had me behind the wheel of a car that I’d lusted after for quite some time. The C5 Z06 has one of the highest levels of performance capability you can find on the affordable used market at the moment. If you want cheap speed with high levels of handling in a lightweight package, you really can’t do wrong with a Z06.

Does this level of performance bargain awesomeness have the best bang for the buck on the used market? Watch the video to find out.

[Many thanks to Rick Radcliffe for supplying his Corvette and allowing me to perform the ceremonial transformation of six year old Bridgestones… into smoke]

2015 Honda NC700X: Think Urban Jungle, Not Actual Jungle

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Honda wants to position the 2015 NC700X as a dual-sport machine. That’s a bit generous, as I found out after spending a bit of time with the machine. It’s less real-jungle-ready, but quite primed to tackle the urban jungle.

It’s not cheap though. This bike is packing a dual-clutch gearbox, ABS, and more storage than it might actually need. Still, even with all that extra gear, it proves to be a solid ride.

Is it worth the dough? Take a look and see.

[Disclaimer: Honda provided the bike for review and included a full tank of fuel.]

 

Tesla Model S: Is this the Everything Car?

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Can there be an everything car? Can it fulfill each and every need you have for the one car you will own? Tesla hit a pretty high watermark with the Model S, it’s well put together, it’s fast, it’s full of wonderful technology. The center stack is the stuff of a tech wizards dream, so what could possibly be wrong?

I turned to something a little bit different and wanted to test out not only the Tesla itself, but in a very fitting way to actually get behind the wheel. I obtained this particular Model S through a website and an app called Relay Rides. Think of it as an Airbnb for cars, something pretty brave to let your personal car out there, but also could be a strong business decision.

I stormed around North County San Diego in this Model S to find out how good it can be to live with it on a daily basis.

1970 Porsche 911: Understanding the Love Affair

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I didn’t completely understand the unadulterated love plied upon the Porsche 911. I know that it’s a supposed to be a pure driving machine. I know that it’s a precise instrument for a skilled enthusiast. I know that I still didn’t fully “get it”.

Now it’s time for me to understand, and I’m not getting my Porsche 911 education by way of the latest and greatest that Stuttgart has to offer. Instead, we’re taking the harder route with a 1970 Porsche 911.

This harder route takes us to the always wonderful Angeles Crest Highway, and to a place where Porsche discovery can happen.

It turns out the harder route is actually the quickest way to make me understand why everyone loves the Porsche 911.

[Many thanks to John the owner for supplying us with the car, and also for snagging the oh-so-sweet drone shots.]

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