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Cars

2020 cadillac CT4

The CT4 may be tamer than the CTS-V, but that’s not necessarily bad.

When the Cadillac CT4 showed up in my driveway, it evoked fond memories. Last year, I had a CTS-V in my possession for one glorious week. I took my mom on a three-hour drive north to Dallas for the day, and every time I revved the engine, she giggled. Every time the seat belt hugged us in for a tighter fit after we fastened it, she said “ooh!” The sedan topped out over $100K, but I can’t say it isn’t worth it: with 640 hp and a supercharged 6.2L engine, this was not your granddad’s Cadillac. It’s more of a luxury car with the heart of a muscle car, and it was awesome to drive.

Overall, the CT4 is a tamed steed versus a wild stallion. It’s smaller and lighter with half the horsepower. What you need to know, however, is that sometimes having a broken-in horse is the better choice – depending on what you need, of course.

Need more Cadillac? Check out the XT6

2020 Cadillac CT4

Two engine choices

The CT4 is an all-new sedan replacing the Cadillac ATS It’s part of the first generation of the sedan introduced for model year 2020. Compared frequently to a similarly-sized Audi A3 or a Mercedes-Benz A-Class, the CT4 can hold its own for fans of the brand.

The 2020 Cadillac CT4 is available in four trim levels: Luxury, Premium Luxury, Sport and the top-of-the-line V-Series. The one I drove this week was the Premium Luxury, which means it includes all the features of the ground-floor Luxury and is available with either the 237-hp 2.0L engine or an optional turbocharged 310-hp, 2.7L four-cylinder matched to a 10-speed automatic.

Engine choice alone is enough to choose the mid-range trim. Other features include auto-dimming mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, handsome 18-inch wheels, and forward collision alert (which flashes a big red box on the instrument cluster and emits a loud alarm if danger is imminent).

In the Sport trim, the CT4 comes with the same 2.0L engine as the Luxury model. The sport also adds meaty Brembo brakes and shift paddles along with a more athletic profile. Honestly, I’m perplexed by this combination of the smaller engine and bigger brakes on the Sport. It makes more sense that the next trim up (the CT4-V) comes standard with a tweaked version of the 2.7L turbocharged engine that generates 325 hp, and the Brembos.

If fuel economy is important to you, note that the epa-estimated mpg is 20 city/ 30 highway for the CT4. The CT4-V requires premium gasoline and costs about $6K more than the Sport trim.

What’s new on the 2021 Cadillac Escalade? 

 

CT4 or CT5? That is the question.

The CT4 is a smaller, more compact sedan. It’s nearly six inches shorter than the CT5 but interestingly, the headroom in front is only less than an inch taller in the CT5.  If you regularly ferry tall teens from place to place, the CT5 offers four inches more legroom, which will make a difference for them.

In terms of engine size, the base model of the CT4 and CT5 both come standard with the 237-hp 2.0L.

Base model pricing:

CT4 Luxury (2.0T engine) $33,990 $36,590
CT5 Luxury (2.0T engine) $37,890 $40,490

2020 cadillac ct4
In summary…

If a luxury sedan is on your mind, the CT4 checks all of the boxes. The drive was incredibly smooth and the seats supremely supple and comfortable. As an audiophile, I was a little disappointed in the sound quality of the Bose audio system and felt it might need some retooling of the locations of the speakers. On the other hand, I appreciated all of the options to change the station without looking down; there are three places to turn the volume up or down and two knobs to scroll through the channels. It all works together very well.

Musical pairing

Is the CT4 worth it? I say yes. It’s fairly priced and it’s a great choice for the luxury set.

This Missy Elliott song matches our theme well:

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In this special episode, our guest Nicole Wakelin gets to explore one of her favorite things: cupcakes. We talk about cupcake flavors and what vehicles we think they match. Think it’s crazy? Find out why the Ford F-150 is a vanilla cream and the chocolate on chocolate is a Hellcat. You might be surprised.

Find Nicole at http://www.NicoleWakelin.com

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Kia Soul

Got what I got the hard way

And i’ll make it better each and every day

So honey don’t you fret

‘Cause you ain’t seen nothing yet.

I’m a Soul man.

  • Sam and Dave

The hamsters are gone but the Soul remains

Remember the commercials featuring hamsters driving a Kia Soul a decade ago (ten years already?!)? Kia found measurable results with that monster campaign; buyers loved the hamsters. In an article on Fortune.com, one Kia dealer manager said that people often entered his dealership and wanted to drive the “hamster car.” This subcompact SUV and its quirky identity made an impression.

In the last ten years, the versatile and zippy Soul has continued to improve and evolve. The 2020 Kia Soul kicked off a new generation with a redesign of the exterior and more options inside. Some outlets call it an SUV and Kia calls it a hatchback on its site, and one thing is clear: it’s not easy to put this unique vehicle into any one category.

Six trim levels and an impressive bargain

A few summers ago, I had a red Kia Soul for a few weeks while I was staying in Indiana for the summer and my mom fell in love with that car. And aside from one torrid long-term affair with a Honda Accord, she and my dad are no-nonsense GM buyers. To this day, however, Mom remembers that Soul fondly.

For model year 2020, the Soul is available in six trim levels. It’s slightly unusual in its hierarchy because the X-Line, GT-Line, and EX build on the S line and not each other, as most brands do. Look carefully at the comparison of all the trims if you have your eye on one of these hatchbacks.

  • LX: Highlights include rear privacy glass, 60/40-split-folding rear seat, six-speaker sound system, seven-inch touchscreen display, a rearview camera, hill-start assist, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • S: Forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert
  • X-Line: 18-inch wheels, leather-wrapped steering wheel, fog lights, roof rails
  • GT-Line: GT-Line Sunroof package with keyless entry and ignition, unique grille, and drowsy driver warning system
  • EX: LED running lights, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, 10.3-inch touchscreen display, navigation system
  • GT-Line Turbo: Adaptive cruise control, heads-up display, upgraded 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio, chrome exhaust, and sunroof

The Soul starts at $17,490 at the base level and ratchets up $10K and more to the GT-Line Turbo.

Kia Soul

Who is a good match for a Soul?

The Soul is a great match for teen drivers. In fact, U.S. News and World Report called the 2020 Kia Soul the best SUV for teens in the $25K to $30K price range. I’ll see that rating and give you one better: this is the perfect car for your college student. It has plenty of room for cargo (including a 60/40 split seating arrangement), fits into any parking space they need to squeeze into, and is sporty enough to be cool. This is also a great little vehicle for a small family. In its comprehensive car seat check, Cars.com gives it a B rating for every kind of seat except a booster, which gets an A.

Kia Soul

Drive Mode loves

  • The LX comes with a six-speed manual transmission as standard
  • Lots of head room
  • Fun, sporty drive experience
  • The interior styling of the Soul has texture and personality, and the number of exterior paint options is dizzying. We’re big fans of the two-tone options, especially the Cherry Black/ Inferno Red combo.
  • Kia’s warranty: 100,000 miles of powertrain protection

Drive Mode suggestions for improvement

  • With the automatic transmission on the GT-Line trum, we had a few issues with the shift points
  • Noisy cabin

Music pairing

In a song, the 2020 Kia Soul has to match up with “Soul Man” by Sam and Dave. In a genre, well, maybe it’s the hamsters or something but Skrillex and Diplo seem like a brilliant choice for this fun little car.

 

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Audi S4

Yes, it’s worth it.  

Audi is known as a luxury performance brand, which means it makes cars not everyone gets the chance to drive. They’re the cars you see in traffic or maybe in the parking lot at the mall and wish were yours. That’s the moment you do a bit of rationalization in your head and tell yourself it’s silly to spend that kind of money on a car and you’re just fine in your [insert boring car here]. After spending some time in the S4 sedan and Q7 SUV, we can wholeheartedly say that spending your hard-earned cash on a luxury car gives you an experience that’s worth every penny.

2020 Audi S4: does it perform as well as we’d hoped? 

This year, Audi gave the S4 a host of upgrades that take what was already quite a nice sedan and make it even better. Park last year’s S4 alongside this year’s model and you will see myriad small changes that give it a sportier, more elegant look. This is a performance sedan, not just an appliance designed to get you from point A to point B. Instead it gets you there in style and with a smile on your face.

The S4 sits at the top of the A4/S4 lineup as the sportiest of the lot. Pricing for the base A4 starts at $37,400 while the S4 comes in at $49,900. What you get for that price increase is additional power, improved handling, and a more luxurious interior.

Under the hood is a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine with 349 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission. That’s a lot of power for a sedan and it shows when you step on the gas. The S4 accelerates smoothly and evenly and makes merging into heavy traffic effortless.

As for the dreaded turbo lag – that brief hesitation when you first mash the pedal – it’s there, but only when you’re being extremely aggressive. Most of the time you aren’t hitting the gas like you’re trying to win a race, so the turbo lag is barely an issue.

As for comfort, this is every bit a luxury car. Leather and Alcantara seats with heavy bolstering hold you in place without squishing larger frames. They’re 8-way adjustable with massage and heat to ease your tired muscles.

Infotainment boasts a new 10.1-inch touchscreen mounted high on the dashboard. It’s easy to see and easy to use with a short learning curve so even passengers who are completely unfamiliar with the system will find it workable.

The 2020 Audi S4 offers a true luxury experience in a performance sedan. That’s all well and good, but what if you have a family and need seating for more than five passengers?

2020 Audi Q7: family-focused and still sporty

You don’t have to give up the idea of luxury simply because you have a family. The Audi Q7 has three rows of seating with room for up to seven passengers with a luxurious, performance-focused experience similar to what’s found in the S4 sedan.

It even offers the same engine, although with a small dip to 335 horsepower. This is a large vehicle so you  might think that would kill performance, but don’t worry. The Q7 is still a spirited and sporty SUV.

The biggest performance difference is in the handling. This is an SUV, not a sedan, so on tight twisty roads it feels bigger with more body roll, but it’s not enough to dull the fun of driving the Q7.

While the second row is roomy, the third row is tight. Headroom is too low for tall adults and even those of average height will need to move that second row forward to fit. It’s best reserved for the kids. When it comes time for cargo instead of people, there’s up to 72.4 cubic feet of room for your stuff.

Pricing on the Q7 starts a bit higher at $54,800 for the base model, which has a less powerful engine. The top trim, which is what we drove, comes in at $60,800.

Not everyone can afford a luxury car, but for those who can, Audi offers good reason for the investment. The S4 sedan and Q7 SUV offer upscale interiors and powerful performance that don’t disappoint. Both are available at dealerships now.

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QUICK TAKE:

  • Sportier, more dramatic exterior style aided by new lower, wider proportions
  • New refined, luxurious interior styling with extra attention paid to quality
  • Standard Nissan Safety Shield® 360 and available driver assist technologies
  • Comprehensive suite of intelligent connectivity technologies, including NissanConnect® featuring Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™
  • New, more powerful 149-horsepower, 4-cylinder engine with improved fuel economy
  • Enhanced driving dynamics with new independent rear suspension and dual pinion electric steering

MikeDitzPhoto 310-994-0307

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nissan announced U.S. pricing starting at $19,090 for the all-new 2020 Sentra, which goes on sale January 28, 2020 at Nissan dealers nationwide.

The all-new 2020 Sentra represents a breakthrough for Nissan’s popular compact sedan – with eye-catching new styling, a comprehensive suite of intelligent driving technologies including standard Nissan Safety Shield 360, advanced connectivity functions and confident performance provided by a new platform and engine. The 2020 Sentra is available in three well-equipped grade levels, S, SV and SR.

Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices for the 2020 Nissan Sentra:

Sentra S

$19,090 USD

Sentra SV

$20,270 USD

Sentra SR

$21,430 USD

Destination and Handling $925.

MikeDitzPhoto 310-994-0307

About the 2020 Nissan Sentra
Now in its eighth generation, the 2020 Sentra has a powerful new design that shares muscular, sporty elements from models like Maxima and Altima. It also features a refined, premium interior, setting new standards for quality and comfort.

Nissan has also made extensive upgrades to Sentra’s driving experience. A new, fuel-efficient 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine delivers 149 horsepower and 146 ft-lb of torque – increases of 20 percent and 17 percent respectively over the previous model. Sentra’s top-level driving dynamics are provided by a new independent rear suspension matched to a McPherson strut front suspension with twin-tube shock absorbers. Also new are a responsive dual-pinion rack electric power steering system and Nissan Intelligent Trace Control technology, both standard.

Nissan Safety Shield 360, a suite of six advanced driver-assist systems, is standard on all 2020 Sentra grade levels. Nissan Safety Shield 360 includes Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, High Beam Assist and Rear Automatic Braking. Sentra also features standard Rear Door Alert, 10 supplemental air bags and Intelligent Driver Alertness.

For more information on the 2020 Sentra, along with the complete lineup of Nissan vehicles, please visit NissanNews.com.

Original post appears here

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Since the introduction of the LEGO® wheel in 1962, cars have played a central role in thousands of LEGO sets and in the hearts, minds and play of millions of children across the world. Today, the LEGO Group and Nissan have revealed a model that pays tribute to one of the most iconic Japanese supercars, the Nissan GT-R NISMO. This is the first-ever partnership between LEGO and a Japanese automaker.

The LEGO model was revealed by LEGO Group CEO Niels B. Christiansen and Asako Hoshino, executive vice president at Nissan, at the automaker’s global headquarters in Yokohama today.

Niels B. Christiansen said: “In addition to offering a wonderful and fun building and play experience, we hope the model will also inspire children to learn more about engineering and how to create things in real life. Just as engineers across decades have improved the design and performance of this car, children build, unbuild and rebuild during play – stimulating and developing crucial skills, such as creativity, resilience, problem-solving and critical thinking. Inspiring them to become the builders of tomorrow is our mission.”

Asako Hoshino said: “The Nissan GT-R and the LEGO brand are both renowned and loved by fans of all ages throughout the world, and we are honored to be the first-ever Japanese car manufacturer to partner with the LEGO Group. Many of our Nissan customers can trace their automotive passion back to when they built LEGO cars as children. With this partnership, everyone can be a `takumi’ – the specialized craftsmen that build the GT-R. And, it’s the GT-R’s 50th anniversary this year, so what better way to celebrate than to share the GT-R with Nissan and LEGO fans around the world!”

Nissan GT-R built in LEGO bricks

Iconic taillights recreated in bricks

The LEGO Speed Champions Nissan GT-R NISMO will be available globally in January 2020. It’s one of the first in the 2020 Speed Champions themed sets, which will be 25% bigger than in previous years. The GT-R NISMO model, made from 298 LEGO elements, captures the authentic and intricate details of the life-size race car in a relatively small LEGO model. This posed an interesting challenge for LEGO design lead Chris Stamp.

“In LEGO Speed Champions, we always aim to include new types of racing vehicles. And when we focused on drifting and racing, the record-breaking Nissan GT-R, and especially the new GT-R NISMO, was at the top of our wish list. Authenticity is always our main concern, and we spent a lot of time exploring different building techniques to correctly recreate the taillights, as they are one of the most recognizable details on the car. I am really happy with the end result!”

Hiroshi Tamura, Nissan’s chief product specialist for the GT-R – known informally as “Mr. GT-R” – gave the scaled-down LEGO version his stamp of approval: “The GT-R has been part of my life since I was 10 years old. Working with the LEGO Group was like awakening my inner 10-year-old self to rediscover what makes the GT-R so special to me. It’s amazing how much the LEGO Group’s attention to detail reminds me of our own craftsmen.”

Appearing alongside the LEGO Speed Champions Nissan GT-R NISMO at today’s event was the 2020 GT-R NISMO. Available now, the most extreme, most capable GT-R in history features carbon-fiber front and rear bumpers, roof, trunk and rear spoiler; carbon-fiber front fenders with special scalloped vents; new lightweight wheels and new tires; tuned suspension and transmission; Brembo carbon brakes; and new turbochargers.

The LEGO Speed Champions Nissan GT-R NISMO will be available globally in January 2020 as a part of the LEGO Speed Champions product lineup. New for 2020, LEGO Speed Champions replicas will be 25% bigger and more realistic than ever, allowing car fans to build mini versions of the world’s most famous cars and put themselves in the driver’s seat.

(Article originally appeared on the Nissan site)

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Nine years ago, RoShelle Salinas started her first day on the job at a Houston-based advertising agency. Her first assignment: to attend the Houston Auto Show. Five years later, she had left the agency started working for the Houston Automobile Dealers Association full time. Now, she’s the Executive Vice President.
 
“I love the variety,” she says. “It’s always something new; I get to learn and be the resource and get to work with phenomenal people. It’s like a little family in itself, and the family-owned dealerships bring you into their circle, too.”
 
Last year, RoShelle and her team added a new element to the Houston Auto Show: a public preview gala. This year, proceeds from the Roaring 20s-themed party go to Bo’s Place, Ducks Unlimited, Easter Seals, and RMHC: $100 of each $250 ticket is tax-deductible as a charitable donation.
In past years, the preview party was invite only. For the Tuesday, January 21 event, the public is invited to purchase tickets and enjoy the swankiest sneak peek in town. At this event, you will have a chance to tip back a few of the coolest drinks, shimmy to the hottest jazz, and best of all, check out the latest automobiles.
 
What makes the Houston Auto Show different from the rest? RoShelle says it’s partly that Houston is such a driving market.
 
“The people who come to the auto show are truly consumers and not just auto enthusiasts. People drive a lot in Texas, and it makes the atmosphere a little different.”
The Houston Auto Show, produced by the Houston Automobile Dealers Association and presented by the Houston Chronicle, welcomes nearly 40 manufacturer participants, including; Acura, Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Ford, Genesis, GMC, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jaguar, JEEP, Kia, Land Rover, Lamborghini, Lexus, Lincoln, Mazda, Maserati, Mercedes Benz, MINI, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Ram, Toyota, Scion, Subaru, Volkswagen and Volvo.
 
A Ride & Drive attraction will feature more than 80 cars to test drive, and the Aftermarket Expo will offer specialty parts of all kinds. The show will also bring back an extensive classic car collection; more than 50 classic vehicles will be on display in the NRG Center lobby and on the show floor.
Join us! DriveMode will be there.
(This is an update to a post that originally appeared at Thrills and Wheels.com)
 
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