Toyota Tundra 1794 | Starting price: $46,000
The Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition is the flagship of Tundras. Both luxurious and capable, this Tundra has a proud heritage that Toyota won’t let you soon forget. The Tundra got a major remodel a couple of years ago, and for 2016 it gets a few minor touch-ups. All Tundras have an upgraded electronics interface this year, while the 1794 gets a larger gas tank and a standard integrated trailer brake control. The 1794 also gets a slight face lift on the front, and can also be equipped with the TRD Off-Road package.
First, a little history. The date of 1794 pays homage to the founding year of the ranch that the San Antonio Toyota Plant calls home. With special badging, 20-inch wheels, and Lexus-quality leather, the 1794 Edition is a workhorse in show horse clothing. The Tundra is designed, engineered, and built entirely in the U.S. and is mostly made from American-made components.
Its styling is certainly bold enough, with that huge chrome grille and tight design lines. Inside, the cabin is a study in refinement and feels equally at home off road or at a country club. The Crew Max cab is roomy and comfortable for adults both up front and in the back seat. Copious amounts of legroom and a reclining rear seat are major contributors. Unique stitching in soft, supple leather, trimmed with wood and just a touch of shine make the interior as luxurious as any Lexus out there.
The 1794 is equipped with abundant and user friendly tech that will appeal to many consumers. Toyota’s Entune system features a premium JBL sound system with integrated navigation and an app suite. Bluetooth, aux jacks and USB ports are standard, as are satellite radio, hands free phone capability, and a rear backup camera. Automatic dual zone climate control keeps everyone comfortable.
The Tundra 1794 is powered by a very hefty 5.7-liter V8 mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. It produces 381 horsepower and a brawny 401 lb-ft of torque. This truck is capable of towing 10,500 pounds. Fuel economy averages 13 city/17 highway for a 4WD.
The TRD package adds even more capability, with 18-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels with P275/65R18 off-road tires, tow hooks (standard on 4×4), off-road-tuned suspension, Bilstein® shock absorbers, engine and fuel tank skid plates, and exclusive TRD graphics on bed quarter panels.
There’s no mistaking that driving this truck gives you a commanding presence. It’s big and brawny and you have to watch yourself in narrow places because its burliness makes everything around you seem much smaller. However, it handles quite well despite its truckiness. Steering and braking feel accurate and offer good feedback. Outside noise is minimal — including the roar from the big engine up front.
Overall, this is truck can go anywhere, do anything, and keep everyone pampered while doing it.
Acura ILX Starting price: $27,000
Thirty thousand seems to be the magic number for an entry-level luxury car. The Acura ILX is proof of that, with a base price just north of $27,000 and ranging up to about $35,000. So, the question becomes, what does $30,000 get you these days? Well, from Acura, you will get a mighty fine ILX.
First of all, the ILX has a nice, design aesthetic. The front end is crowned with 5 jewel-like LED lights in each headlamp. Its stance is proud, as if eager to please its owner. The optional 18-inch diamond-cut wheels add some more sparkle and yet at the same time, give this compact vehicle a sportier, more aggressive feel.
The Acura ILX is definitely the flashier cousin to the Honda Civic, and that is evidenced all throughout the sport-inspired interior. From aluminum gas and brake pedals to the classic stitching on the three-spoke, leather steering wheel, the ILX has a flair for attitude. The center stack has a nice, symmetrical appearance, starting with the navigation screen above, audio screen below that, and control buttons beneath, finally cascading down to the stitched-leather gear shifter. The cockpit hugs without feeling too cramped.
The ILX comes in three trim levels: Standard, Premium, and Technology Plus. Notable features include Navigation with 3D View, premium surround sound, and rear cross traffic monitoring.
New this year is an all-new power train. Gone is the old 150-horsepower 2.0-liter engine matched to the 5-speed automatic. Taking its place is a more modern, more efficient 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that yields 201 horsepower and 180 lb.-ft. of torque. The transmission is also new: a unique torque-converter equipped dual-clutch 8-speed automatic. I believe the power train makes for a smarter, faster ILX. It measures 0-60 in 6.2 seconds, which shaves two full seconds off the previous model. And even with all that power, fuel economy is rated at 25 city/36 highway.
Driving the ILX is also much improved over the previous model. New calibrations were made to the electronic-assisted steering which improves road feedback and gives you a more engaged driving experience. Braking is laser sharp and feels accurate to the amount of pressure you put on the pedal. Overall, the ILX is fun to drive and rewards those who like to drive. In fact, even for those who feel that driving is a bother, the ILX will make your commute much more enjoyable.
Competitors in this category include the Audi A3, Mercedes-Benz CLA class, BMW 2-series, and Buick Verano. The good news for Acura shoppers is that an ILX tops out at $35,000 while others can range into the low fifties. So, what does $30,000 get you these days? In the case of the Acura ILX, you can get a fun-to-drive, sophisticated, car that offers a touch of class in the entry-level luxury category.
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Category: New Automobiles