In this informative review, Kristin looks at the 2020 Toyota Highlander and talks about her experience with it, its good and bad points, and why she likes it. Watch and learn!
Miles for Parkinson’s Disease
Hagerty is partnering with non-profit Drive Toward a Cure to encourage enthusiasts to do what we all enjoy the most: DRIVE. Over 75 days of Summer 2020, licensed motorists nationwide can appreciate drives near or far and enter to win prizes based on the mileage they drive. Participants share their experiences on social media, while benefiting Parkinson’s Disease awareness, research, and patient care.
Affecting nearly one million Americans and 10 million worldwide, Parkinson’s disease is the second-most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s. It’s also the 14th-leading cause of death in the United States. The disease is associated with a progressive loss of motor control (like shaking or tremor at rest and lack of facial expression), as well as non-motor symptoms (e.g., depression and anxiety). There is no cure for Parkinson’s and 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the US alone.
Drives Generate Memories
According to Doug Clark, vice president of publishing and business development for Hagerty, the joy of driving builds bonds with people on every level.
“No one would deny the memories we all retain from great drives – whether youthful recollections for nostalgic cars or the roads we envision on a crisp and clear summer day or night,” said Clark. “The ‘Summer Drive Toward a Cure’ program is an opportunity to get out safely and just feel good, while doing some good for others, too.”
The first 100 registrants to enter at www.drivetowardacure.org/summer and create a public social media post on Facebook or Instagram featuring a photo of the car they have registered and the message “I’ve just joined the Summer Drive Toward a Cure in support of #ParkinsonsDisease! Will you join too? @drivetowardacure #getoutanddrive @hagerty #letsdrivetogether” will receive a free Hagerty ‘Shift Happens’ baseball cap and Drive Toward a Cure window cling.
Join the Fun
Throughout the entire summer, Drive Toward a Cure and Hagerty will be sharing new suggested driving routes weekly on Hagerty’s Community pages and encouraging participants to share their own driving routes and scenic drives within a dedicated forum. Weekly prizes will be awarded to individuals selected from social media and community posts, with overall program prizes to be announced on Labor Day.
Special awards for most miles driven and most money raised will be awarded after Labor Day when odometer readings and monetary contributions are tallied. Top prizes include a certificate for four (4) Michelin tires, valued at $1,500; a $250 gift certificate for DriveShare by Hagerty; and a $150 value ‘Steve McQueen’ gift basket from Hunziker Design including t-shirts and Steve McQueen racing shoes. Apparel gifts will be provided to entrants at various donation levels. Initial registration is $20 but larger donations are encouraged – with the ability to make one’s own donation, have individual or corporate sponsors for personal driving experiences, or to bring friends together safely for a group drive through each registrants’ individual fundraising page.
Should an entrant wish to drive something other than their own registered vehicle, they can easily find a collectible or special vehicle through DriveShare by Hagerty. All rentals applying code DTAC2020 will receive a 10% discount, plus DriveShare will donate their profits from the rental to Drive Toward a Cure! Sign up to rent a car in your region at www.driveshare.com.
Raise Money by Doing what You Love: Driving
Hagerty has teamed with Drive Toward a Cure since the organization’s inception in 2016 when the Foundation first began blending cars and camaraderie to raise awareness and funds for Parkinson’s disease. With more than $400,000 raised over the past four years, Drive Toward a Cure supports both Parkinson’s research AND patient care, raising funds through events and annual rallies enjoyed by the automotive enthusiast community at large.
According to Deb Pollack, founder of Drive Toward a Cure, as the organization enters its fourth year, its awareness is blooming on a national scale. “During the past year alone, we’ve made some enormous strides. With a large donation to the Parkinson’s Foundation, we were able to support specific patient care needs and focus on six Parkinson’s Centers of Excellence throughout the country. By aligning our events to areas within those regions, we can potentially provide even more funds and make a significant difference for challenged individuals.”
Pollack concedes that the easiest way for her organization to raise funds has always been through interactive programs that are both fun and car-oriented, but one doesn’t have to drive to play a role. Groups and organizations like local area Ferrari and Porsche clubs throughout the nation have come on board to offer panel discussions, garage tours, BBQs and social gatherings to raise funds on behalf of Drive Toward a Cure. In 2018, the funds raised by those groups enabled the Foundation to offer grants to Parkinson’s patients residing in California that had lost their homes in the devastating fires, and has since become the organization’s ‘Special Assistance Fund.’ Applicants can gain additional funding to support patient care needs during overwhelming catastrophes and other special needs.
More about Drive Toward a Cure
Drive Toward a Cure raises funds and awareness for Parkinson’s Disease research and patient care. Inspired by the camaraderie found within the automotive culture, the organization’s mission benefits equally from both enthusiast communities and industry professionals. Drive Toward a Cure events harness enthusiasm for cars and driving and turn that power into support for ongoing work to improve the lives of those living with Parkinson’s, as well as the research that will hopefully one day lead to a cure.
Drive Toward a Cure is a 501(c)(3) non-profit supporting beneficiaries including The Michael J. Fox Foundation , The Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center and the Parkinson’s Foundation . For donations, sponsorship and event registration, please visit www.drivetowardacure.org.
In this review, Kristin looks at the underrated Nissan Murano and talks about its features and design. Competing in the hot two-row crossover segment, the Murano offers uniqueness on several fronts. Check it out.
- 2021 Nissan Rogue includes Nissan Safety Shield 360 across the entire lineup
- Intelligent driver alertness technology and Rear Door Alert now standard across all trim levels
- “Family Hub” features add convenience for rear passengers
- Vehicle Motion Control works in conjunction with intelligent AWD system and drive mode selector to provide four-wheel individual control and better cornering
- 2.5L 4-cylinder engine generating 181 hp, an increase of 11 hp
- Platinum trim added to the lineup
- Five new two-tone color combinations
Strong mpg numbers enhanced for 2021
For model years 2017-2020, Nissan’s top-selling smart crossover has been known for stellar fuel efficiency and a nimble, quiet ride. Powered by a 170-hp 2.5L engine, Nissan Rogue buyers could choose between 2WD and 4WD, and could get a little over 30 mpg on the highway. For 2021, Nissan added 11 hp to the mix for a little more oomph and upped the torque lb-ft by six, giving it even more zip. And the mpg numbers are even more promising: FWD models will get 35 mpg on the S trim and 34 on the other three (SV, SL, and Platinum), and AWD gets 33 and 32, respectively.
Firstly, Nissan has updated the V-motion grille, widening it and giving it a bit more heft. Next, to the side of the distinctive grille new multi-level LED headlights with an expanded illumination area are standard on all 2021 Nissan Rogue trims. Finally, LED fog lights are standard on SL and Platinum grades.
The rear cargo area is accessible through the newly available motion-activated tailgate. Once you open it up Nissan’s popular Divide-n-Hide system has been updated while still providing hidden and secure storage for essential gear. Now on the inner right side of the cargo area (behind the wheel arch) a cubby is perfectly sized for a gallon of milk, reducing your spill risk. We say that’s a great place for a gallon of homemade root beer in the summer, too.
The 2021 Nissan Rogue amps up the family quotient with an enhanced feature set Nissan is calling the “Family Hub.”
As it was for the 2020 model, seventy cubic feet of cargo space is plenty of room for your kids, sports equipment, and even your furry friends in a Rogue. The new butterfly-opening center console gives you the option to place an item inside – tissues or wipes, for instance – and back-seat passengers are able to access it. If you have small children, you’ll see the functionality with that new feature. Further, more storage space is available under the front console.
Two things we love about the Rogues (and about Nissan in general) are the NASA-inspired Zero Gravity seats and Rear Door Alert. First, Rear Door Alert (which was invented by two Nissan engineers who are also moms) helps remind you of items or kids that may be forgotten in the rear seat. If the system detects that a rear door was opened or closed prior to a trip, but then was not re-opened again after the trip was completed, the system responds with a series of visual and audible notifications. Secondly, Zero Gravity seats – designed to reduce fatigue and increase comfort – have 14 pressure points to put your back in a neutral position. Now your back-seat passengers benefit from Zero Gravity seats, too, and they’re going to appreciate that addition if you’ve had a Nissan Rogue in the past.
We also appreciate the expansion of the Nissan Intelligent Key to the rear doors. With the 2021 model, anyone can unlock a front or rear door by pressing a button on any of the four doors or unlock all doors by pressing twice.
Interior technology features also include push button start, Rear Door Alert and easy-fill tire alert, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, hands-free text messaging assistant, Siri Eyes Free, Google assistant and Sirius XM radio. Standard USB-C (fast chargers) are also included in every Rogue.
More safety features with ProPILOT Assist
Nissan’s ProPILOT Assist, the brand’s driver-assist technology suite, combines steering assist and Intelligent Cruise Control to help control acceleration, braking and steering in both heavy traffic and on the highway. Nissan says ProPILOT Assist uses next-generation radar and camera technology to provide smoother braking, better steering assist feel and improved detection performance when other vehicles cut into the lane.
ProPILOT Assist with Navi-link is standard on Rogue Platinum and available on Rogue SL. If you link ProPILOT Assist with Nissan’s navigation system, the map data can now provide the ability to proactively reduce speed for upcoming freeway curves or junctions and also help you slow for freeway exits. Nissan appears to be actively pursuing semi-autonomous driving that not everyone appreciates but some will love.
If you regularly encounter stop-and-go traffic, vehicles with ProPILOT Assist with Navi-link gave you three seconds to remain stopped and automatically continue without having to tap the accelerator. Now it’s up to 30 seconds, which makes a lot more sense in large city areas. Lastly, the Rogue provies traffic sign recognition and can automatically update the vehicle’s speed when the speed limit goes up or down.
Nissan’s 2021 Rogue will be available this fall.
In this review of the Mercedes-AMG GT53, I look at a beautiful and powerful sedan coupe from Germany. The GT53 has grace, style, beautiful sound (inside and out), and a lot to offer as a six-figure life choice. Got AMG?
In this review, Kristin looks at the beautiful and very well-done Mazda6 in its Signature package. She only has one complaint, but that didn’t stop her from cranking the audio system up to 11 and jammin!
See also our comparison of the Mazda 6 to the Hyundai Sonata.
By now, you’ve heard that the Hummer is back as a model in the GMC family. But it’s not the same Hummer you might remember from the 90s. Originally designed for the military, the H1 was known for an estimated mpg rating south of 20, a wide road hog that evoked Arnold Schwarzenegger associations.
That particular vehicle faded out of the market in 2008; gone but not forgotten. Rising up from the ashes of that original Hummer, the new GMC Hummer EV has blazed back onto the scene as of January with a bold commercial during the biggest NFL game of the year.
Zero-emissions and all electric, the new Hummer EV boasts 1000 hp and, GMC says, 11,500 lb-ft of torque. That number is not exactly the torque calculation you’re used to, however; some speculate that it’s the wheel torque multiplied by the gear ratio. Even so, if the Hummer has 1000 lb-ft of torque, it’s still an incredibly impressive number. And with a reported 0-60 in less than three seconds, this vehicle is definitely going to MOVE.
Adding to the fun, removable roof panels allow you to feel the wind through your hair in this hulking new-generation beast.
The electric vehicle market is picking up, with competitors Bollinger and Rivian promoting EV trucks with less horsepower but with other alluring features. Bollinger’s B2 will have the capability to carry a 16-foot load through a patented passthrough into the cabin, and the B1 is a four-seat SUV with removable glass, doors, roof panels, and windshield. Rivian’s R1T has parking-lot friendly dimensions and 11,000-pound towing capabilities, and its R1S SUV is more family friendly, with three sleek rows. Ford says an F-150 is in the works, which we’re looking forward to hearing more about soon. The brand’s Mustang Mach-E, which debuted last year, is much smaller and more budget-friendly than the Hummer EV, but includes the all-electric instant-torque thrill.
GMC called this new SUV a “quiet revolution” in its January commercial and it’s going to be interesting to see who buys this vehicle. It seems obvious that it won’t be the same consumers who bought the gas-guzzling original, but who knows? The brand is currently saying that it will be available as of the fall of 2021. We’re looking forward to it.
Kristin interviews Melissa Stockwell, who lost her left leg in Iraq while in the U.S. Army and is now a multi-time Paralympian who is a part of Team Toyota aiming for the 2020 games. Melissa talks about what it’s like to compete as a triathlete with a disability, her beloved Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro, and life as a busy mom in Colorado.
If you’ve never driven a McLaren, you might imagine how the wheel feels in your hands or how the seats cradle your body capably. You might imagine the roar of the engine and the supple materials inside.
A thrilling new McLaren Tech Club film looks at the materials selected for the McLaren GT. Blending greater comfort, space and usability with the levels of driver engagement, dynamic ability and performance for which McLaren is renowned, the GT has its own unique identity – inside and out.
New interior materials are a key aspect of the GT’s credentials and appeal. The McLaren design team explored alternatives to traditional coverings in areas such as luggage spaces, as well as on seats and other trim. The appearance and tactile attraction of driver controls are also an important part of the interior design, with machined and knurled aluminum that looks and feels both beautiful and technical while delivering precise functionality.
McLaren is committed to pursuing lightweight solutions across all aspects of design and engineering and the interior of the GT is no exception. A new material called SuperFabric, originally designed for military and aerospace applications, is available as a covering for the floor of the luggage bay. This innovative woven fabric is infused with a layer of tiny armored guard plates, providing increased resistance to stains, cuts, nicks and abrasions. Breathable, easy to clean and quick to dry, the surface of the SuperFabric is embossed with a hexagonal pattern to provide optimal protection.
This single-minded approach to light weighting extends to more traditional cabin materials with McLaren adopting a contemporary approach to achieve the brand’s design philosophy of ‘everything for a reason’, bringing fashion and lifestyle inspirations to the finest materials and developing new exclusive colorways. The supple Nappa leather offered as standard in the GT can be upgraded to softgrain luxury leather or Alcantara but regardless of owner preference all of the fine leathers used in the GT are sourced from Scotland’s Bridge of Weir company. Alternatively, cashmere is available in either Dove Grey or Jet Black as one of the most exclusive options from McLaren Special Operations, the chic fabric featuring on the seats and key ‘touchpoints’ in the cabin. McLaren is the first car manufacturer to offer the softest and most luxurious of wools in a production version supercar.
Introducing innovative new interior materials for any McLaren is a huge challenge. With the GT we were creating beauty and luxury but with the additional layers of functionality and advanced technology that are inherent in every car we design – and all delivered in a very modern way. Everything in a McLaren is there for a reason, not simply to look good; the materials need to be authentic not only in appearance and to the touch, but also in meeting our requirements for minimizing weight and performance in use.
Jo Lewis, Colour and Materials Design Manager, McLaren Automotive Ltd.
In line with McLaren’s pursuit of innovation while retaining authenticity, machined and knurled aluminum driver controls engage the senses both through touch and by visually ‘guiding’ the driver around the cabin. Designed to harmoniously bring together the full concept of the interior design, the finishers, bezels, paddles and switches create a sophisticated and inviting ambiance that reinforce McLaren’s technical precision. The GT also features the first application of ‘hidden until lit’ interior illumination; appearing at first as a solid metallic finish, this pioneering light design reveals a calming, ambient glow once the ignition is turned on. For design continuity, the ambient lighting pattern also links visually to the speaker grills of the recently awarded Bowers & Wilkins audio system. Detailed around the doors and passenger-side dash, the lit hues can be changed to suit interior colors or mood.
More information about the McLaren GT – and an online configurator that allows you to choose your own perfect specification for the car – is available at https://cars.mclaren.com/gb-en/new-mclaren-gt.
Do you think of Jeep as a green machine? Jeep’s manufacturer Fiat Chrysler Automotive has completed its latest Global Warming Potential (GWP) analysis, and it compared the redesigned-for-2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited with the previous-generation vehicle. Overall, the GWP is 15 percent lower than that of its predecessor.
The GWP improvement was calculated using industry-standard software that examines multiple factors associated with a vehicle’s design, production and on-road performance. These factors include:
- the environmental impact of fuel production and delivery
- material use
- the vehicle’s own fuel consumption
Determinations are based on 150,000 miles of operation. And improvements are measured by contrasting anticipated C02-equivalent greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions, with those of comparable vehicles. C02-equivalent, or CO2e, is a term for describing various greenhouse gases as a common unit. For any quantity and type of greenhouse gas, CO2e signifies the amount of CO2 that would have an equivalent effect on global warming.
In this case, the comparison was made with the previous-generation Wrangler Unlimited, as powered by its only available engine – FCA’s 3.6L Pentastar V-6 – and a since-discontinued five-speed automatic transmission.
The new Wrangler’s performance was measured as equipped with the available 270-hp, 2.0L turbocharged I-4 engine, featuring engine stop-start. Accordingly, each new Wrangler Unlimited has the potential to account for a 14-metric-ton reduction in GHG emissions, which is equivalent to:
- GHG emissions of three passenger cars, driven for one year
- C02e output from 7.7 tons of coal burned in a power-generation plant
- C02e produced when powering 2.4 average American homes for one year
The reduced emissions from each 2.0L Wrangler Unlimited, over its lifetime, has the potential to account for the carbon sequestration that occurs in 16.5 acres of U.S. forest, over an entire year.
Material choices also contribute to the new Wrangler Unlimited’s greener performance. Its ferrous metal content was reduced to 54 percent from 68 percent in the previous-generation vehicle. Non-ferrous metal content, which contributes to weight reduction and corrosion resistance, increased to 20 percent, from 12 percent.
Further improving its on-road performance, FCA’s TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission benefits fuel economy, whether mated to the 2.0L turbocharged I-4 or the 3.6L Pentastar V-6. In I-4 configurations, the celebrated transmission helps the 2020 Wrangler Unlimited achieve a 21 mpg rating in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s combined city/highway test cycle – an increase of three mpg over the previous-generation vehicle and its five-speed automatic transmission.
In the Sahara trim level, the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited may be equipped with a version of the 2.0L turbocharged I-4 that features FCA’s eTorque mild-hybrid technology. In addition, the new-generation Wrangler Unlimited is available with a 3.6-liter V-6 from FCA’s award-winning Pentastar engine family. It comes with a choice of a TorqueFlite eight-speed transmission or a six-speed manual gearbox.
The 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 is also available in the Jeep Cherokee midsize SUV. To accommodate its continued proliferation across the FCA lineup, the company is committing $400 million to produce the engine at a former transmission plant in Kokomo, Indiana, a project that will bring FCA’s total employment in the state to 8,300.
The results of this latest GWP analysis come on the heels of FCA’s 2019 Sustainability Report. Distributed on April 16, it says the Company further reduced its environmental footprint around the world.
Among the highlights, FCA cut its water use by nearly 40 percent, compared with 2010. Over the same time period, the Company also shaved its carbon footprint by 27 percent, and slashed its waste generation by 64 percent.