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First Drive: 2019 Lexus UX 200 / UX 250h

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2019 Lexus UX

With luxury compact crossovers like the BMW X1, Audi Q3 and Mercedes-Benz GLA enjoying success over the past few years, it only made sense for Lexus to go after a piece of that pie as well. Their answer? The all-new 2019 Lexus UX.

The Lexus UX completes the luxury brand’s SUV lineup, which includes the NX, RX, GX, and LX. With the UX, Lexus is able to get the attention of young buyers, and hopefully hold onto them as their needs (and family) grow, with a vehicle for every stage of their life.

Visually, the Lexus UX is a pretty radical departure for the usually-reserved brand, designed specifically “for modern urban explorers seeking a fresh, contemporary and dynamic take on luxury driving.” While the styling might not be for everyone, it’s a head-turner (especially in colors like Cadmium Orange), and about as different from the competition as you can get.

2019 Lexus UX

Being that the UX is intended for a busy city chock full of young professionals, Lexus decided to bring us out to Seattle so we could experience it in its natural habitat. And we couldn’t have asked for a better setting, as it really showcased what the UX (“Urban X-over”) is all about.

We started the day in the Lexus UX 200, which is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 169HP and 151 lb-ft of torque. Power is routed to the front wheels through a 10-speed Direct Shift Continuously Variable Transmission, which combines the benefits of a CVT (fuel economy) with a conventional first gear to give you a more direct driving feel. It works amazingly well, and if nobody told me, I would have assumed the car had a regular automatic.

Now I know what you’re thinking.. 169 horsepower?! That’s significantly less power than the competition. And you’re not wrong. The UX 200 isn’t exactly fast, with a 0-60 mph time of 8.9 seconds. But the UX was designed for the city, where you don’t need (or have the room to use) 300HP. There’s more than enough power to zip around town, and a tight turning radius that makes U-turns a breeze in even the tightest spots.

2019 Lexus UX

After lunch, we hopped into the Lexus UX 250h hybrid, and surprisingly enough, this ended up being our favorite of the two. For an additional $2,000, you get slightly more power (181 total system horsepower), better fuel economy (38 mpg combined vs. 33 mpg combined), and all-wheel drive standard (something that’s not offered on the UX 200 at all).

You wouldn’t think that an extra 12 horsepower would make that much of a difference, but we found the UX 250h to feel much more responsive. And the numbers back it up, with the hybrid clocking in a 0-60 mph time of 8.6 seconds. Factor in the better mileage and all-wheel drive (a huge selling point for those in colder climates), and the hybrid model seems like a no-brainer.

Both the UX 200 and UX 250h can be optioned with the F Sport package, which adds a variety of appearance (mesh grille, exclusive front and rear bumpers, jet black trim, sport seats) and handling (suspension tuning including revised springs and stabilizer bars) upgrades. There’s no added power with the package, but the Active Sound Control pipes some fake engine noise into the cabin to heighten the driving experience.

2019 Lexus UX

Speaking of the cabin, the interior of the UX what we’ve come to expect from Lexus, with high quality materials and a whisper-quiet ride. That said, this isn’t your grandfather’s Lexus. The UX is available with a two-tone lapis and birch (blue and white) interior, complete with washi-textured blue trim on the dash. I personally loved the look, but if that’s too radical for you, there are more traditional options to choose from as well.

Lexus knows that UX buyers want the latest in technology and connectivity, so they’ve packed the UX with all the bells and whistles. A 7-inch Lexus Multimedia System display is standard, and 4 USB ports (plus wireless charging) are provided to make sure that everyone arrives at their destination fully charged. Apple CarPlay also comes standard on the UX, allowing you to access your favorite apps through the car’s display.

But that’s not all. Amazon Alexa compatibility comes standard, so buyers with Alexa-enabled devices (like an Echo or a smartwatch) can use simple voice commands to lock/unlock their doors, start their engine, or check their fuel level. Likewise, they can also communicate with their house on-the-go. “Alexa, turn the heat up to 72-degrees.”

2019 Lexus UX

Overall, there’s a lot to like about the all-new 2019 Lexus UX, but it’s a car that really caters to a specific audience. If you’re a young up-and-comer who lives in the city and is in the market for a luxury compact crossovers that won’t break the bank, the UX is a great choice.

The 2019 Lexus UX 200 rolls into dealerships this December, with a starting price of $32,000, and option packages (F Sport, Technology, etc) costing $2,000 each. The 2019 Lexus UX 250h will arrive in dealerships in January 2019, with a starting price of $34,000.

Visit www.lexus.com for more information.

Sujeet Patel is the founder of Guys Gab, and one of the biggest automotive enthusiast you'll ever meet. He's been fortunate enough to turn his passion for cars into a full-time job. Like they say, "If you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life."

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Which Genesis G70 Should You Get, The 2.0T Or The 3.3T?

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2019 Genesis G70

The all-new 2019 Genesis G70 is the company’s first attempt at taking on the midsized luxury sports sedan segment, and in particular face off against the BMW 3-Series. We’ve been eagerly awaiting a chance to drive this vehicle since it was unveiled at the New York Auto Show earlier this year, and a few weeks ago at IMPA Test Days, we finally got our chance to do so.

We were fortunate enough to sample both the affordable G70 2.0T (which is powered by a 252-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder) and the more powerful G70 3.3T (powered by a 365-hp 3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V-6) variants.

Both of these may be trim levels of the same car, but which one drives better? Here are our non-instrumented, seat-of-the-pants findings:

Acceleration Winner: 2019 Genesis G70 3.3T

This one should be fairly obvious, but when it comes to outright acceleration, the base model 2.0T doesn’t stand a chance against the 365-horsepower 3.3T, which rockets from 0-60 in just 4.5 seconds. Although the 2.0T puts out a more than adequate 252 horsepower, the 3.3T’s acceleration is just nuclear, pinning you to the back of your seat.

In normal driving, the 2.0T feels perfectly fine, but crest 4,000rpm and it quickly runs out of steam. Luckily, that’s not the case in the more powerful G70. The twin-turbo V6 is a missile, producing meaningful thrust all the way to redline.

2019 Genesis G70

Handling Winner: 2019 Genesis G70 2.0T

Although the 3.3T is much faster, the lighter 2.0T just feels better to drive. The 3.3T we tested had Hyundai’s H-Trac all-wheel-drive system, which coupled with the heavier V6 made the front end feel much heavier than the RWD 2.0T.

The 2.0T is more fun to whip into turns and exercise the superb chassis, while the 3.3T is more of a point and shoot affair. Sure, they share the same platform , but adding a heavier engine and AWD really changes the character of a car and the general sensations of driving.

Value Winner: 2019 Genesis G70 2.0T

With a starting price of only $34,900, the base Genesis G70 2.0T undercuts the more expensive G70 3.3T H-Trac by over $10,000 as the 3.3T AWD starts at $45,750. Between the base 2.0T and the 3.3T H-Trac we drove, it was clear that the base model is anything but base. This little premium sedan is hugely impressive at the $35K mark. The interior is sophisticated and well appointed, while the exterior’s taught body and sleek styling cocoons a well-sorted chassis.

Other Genesis G70 trim levels have a lot to offer as well. Forego AWD, and the most affordable 3.3T can be had for only $43,750. For those of you looking to row your own gears, there’s even a 6-speed manual option (for the 2.0T only) that will set you back $37,900 and comes with a limited slip differential and other performance-oriented goodies. If you want all the bells and whistles, a fully loaded 3.3T Dynamic Edition clocks in at $52,250.

2019 Genesis G70

Overall, we think Genesis really knocked it out of the park with the new G70 sedan, delivering a dynamic vehicle that’s a ton of fun to drive. If you’re in the market for a luxury sports sedan, you owe it to yourself to test drive one today.

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Pricing For The 2019 Hyundai Veloster N Released, Starting At $26,900

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2019 Hyundai Veloster N

While the previous generation Hyundai Veloster was nothing to write home about, the all-new 2019 Veloster is an absolute blast to drive, with plenty of power and great handling dynamics. I recently took the Veloster Turbo out on some twisties, and I couldn’t wipe that grin off of my face, that’s how much fun I was having with the car.

But for those who want to dial up the excitement to 11, the 2019 Hyundai Veloster N takes it to a whole other level, raising the car’s horsepower from 201HP to 250HP (or 275HP with the Performance Package), along with a variety of chassis, tuning and other upgrades that are sure to impress even the most hardcore driving enthusiasts.

Hyundai has been teasing us about the 2019 Veloster N for some time now, and we’ve all been speculating about how much this hot hatch would ultimately cost. And yesterday, we finally got our answer. As it turns out, it’s considerably less than we had expect.

2019 Hyundai Veloster N

Pricing for the 2019 Veloster N starts at $26,900, with the Performance Package model coming in at $29,000. That’s a LOT of bang for the buck, and it should put the other hot hatches out there on notice. (We’re talking to you, GTI, WRX and Civic Type R)

To me, spending the extra $2,100 for the Performance Package is a no brainer, as it gives you 275 horsepower (versus 250 horsepower on the standard Veloster N), N corner carving limited slip differential, a variable exhaust valve system, 19″ wheels with Pirelli P Zero summer tires, and better brakes front and rear.

One thing to note about the Veloster N – It’s only offered with a manual transmission. While I can appreciate their reasoning for doing this, it does limit the number of potential buyers, as many enthusiasts don’t know how (or don’t want) to drive a stick.

2019 Hyundai Veloster N

The 2019 Hyundai Veloster N will begin arriving at dealerships in December.

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7 Ways To Improve Your Car’s Perfomance

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When I drove a 1996 Mustang GT, I thought it was the fastest thing on the road, with a 4.6L V8 that put out 215HP, and a 0-60 time of 6.7 seconds. But by today’s standard, that’s considered rather slow, with many family sedans (like the 2018 Camry V6) packing 250-300 horsepower, and sports cars putting out 400+ HP. Pretty crazy stuff, right?

So what can you do if you own an older sports car and you want to give it a little performance boost? Or go all out and turn it into a race car? From the laws of speed and motion, here are 7 surefire methods you can use to improve your car’s performance:

1) Aerodynamics and Weight:

Aerodynamics deal with how bodies move through the air. Physicist Sir Isaac Newton proved that the force executed by any car depends on its mass and acceleration. The higher the mass, the higher the force. This eventually increases the drag. Something like an aero kit can help your car slip through the air faster.

You can cut a car’s weight by removing heavy mechanical components. The components may include your air conditioning, heater, speakers, or even your backseats. You can also remake the interior using lighter materials, like replacing your glass windows with polycarbonates, which are strong, tough and lightweight.

2) Bushing Replacements

Most cars leave the factory with rubber bushings in their suspension. They are cheap, absorb shocks and vibrations, let the suspension turn freely, and won’t bind easily. The downside is that they compromise your car’s handling somewhat. But if you are willing to give up a little civility in the name of better handling, replacing your bushings with polyurethane ones will give you more responsive handling and acceleration.

Upgraded bushings are a quick and easy way to breathe some new life into your old ride.

3) Check Your Air Filter

Your car’s air filter is it’s first line of defense against contaminants. But it can get dirty over time, and many people neglect to replace them when they should. This can negatively affect your car’s performance, as it struggles to pull in air. So if your a mechanic recommends that you replace the car’s air filter, change it.

There are a number of aftermarket air filters (like K&N) that reportedly deliver improved air flow, which in turn leads to more power. These require more maintenance (periodically oiling your filter, making sure not to foul your MAF sensor), but it’s just another way to squeeze a few more horsepower out of your ride.

4) Use High Quality Components

You know that saying “You get what you pay for”? Well it’s true. When you’re working on your car, you want to use high-quality components from reputable sources, not some random part from eBay that you bought because it was cheap. Stick with an established brand that has a long history in the business for that piece of mind.

The same holds true for aftermarket parts. If you’re upgrading your older Porsche, you want to stick with a name like Fabspeed, who offer Porsche 996 performance upgrades that will make your car feel stronger than ever, along with a warranty on their parts.

5) Install A Supercharger

By compressing air supplied to a car’s engine, superchargers give room for more oxygen to enter the engine. In reality, a car can have a lot of fuel. But without enough oxygen, the car will hardly accelerate.

Installing a supercharger will give you an immediate boost to your vehicle’s performance, with more horsepower both off-the-line and during acceleration. It’s a great way to take your car’s performance to the next level, though it’s a costly (and complicated) upgrade.

6) Enhance Performance Using Computers

Unlike classic cars, which you could tune with a basic set of tools, today’s cars are increasingly complicated, relying on computers for things like fuel delivery, spark, and more. What’s more, cars are tuned from the factory rather conservatively, and the car’s ECU can be reprogrammed to give you better performance.

There are plenty of resources where you can learn to program your car’s engine management program. Or you can go to a professional tuner, who can put your car on a dyno and give you a custom tune. These prove especially beneficial if you’ve got a turbocharged car.

7) Install Quality Tires

What connects your car to the road? Tires. Most mechanics would agree that tires are in fact the most important part of your car. If you’re looking for faster acceleration, better braking, and overall stability, you should invest in a quality set of Ultra High Performance tires, which will dramatically change the demeanor of your car.

You should always make sure that the tires are properly inflated as well, as too much or too little air pressure can dramatically affect a car’s performance.

As you can see, speed isn’t the only factor that defines a high-performance car. Hopefully these tips will help you turn your tired ride into a high-performance car that’s able to hang with the competition on the streets.

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