If you think the only thing about hybrids that’s advanced in the past decade or so is technology, think again. No longer the ugly stepchild of the automotive world, many hybrids have also arrived in the department of style and even take the kind of risks manufacturers wouldn’t dare impute to their gas-powered children. We’ve helmed three stylish hybrids that run the range of prices and designs. They’re all pleasing to the eye as well as to the environment and give us hope for the future: one without hybrids that look like lozenges on wheels.
No Compromise, Plenty of Style
An Empire State of Rides
Sandwiched between the Geneva Motor Show and the Beijing Auto Show, the New York International Auto Show usually misses out on the biggest reveals of the year, but it still has plenty to offer. This year’s show had its fair share of new designs and vehicles along with loads of improved sheetmetal. We’ve chosen ten standouts from our time on the ground that we’ll be looking to drive in 2015.
Today in Gear we examine a new book for Cub’s fans, your iMac’s new wood friend, Lexus’ sharp crossover, barrels for homebrew and “The Rhino”.
Can the world's largest automaker fix the problems ahead?
Today, Toyota is making bold bets in a wide range of areas — from alternative fueled vehicles and suped-up tricycles Robocop would sell his hex nuts for, to emotion-sensing AI, household “partner” robots, and smart homes — all in hopes anticipating the shifting mobility needs of tomorrow. Statistics are one way to understand how the company’s master plan will make for a better and Pikachu-cute future; then again, the world’s largest automaker is well aware that practice makes perfect, and that’s on display at their global headquarters, known as Toyota City. We explored the brand’s paradigm-shifting innovations, including personal mobility prototypes, robots, EV infrastructure and more.
IS is it
BMW has spent the past several years making its cars more luxurious and better appointed for its upmarket customers. While BMW was upping the luxury, Lexus was moving in the opposite direction, not by making their cars any less luxurious, but instead placing a stronger emphasis — maybe even a bull’s-eye target — on sportiness. The result? For now, the BMW 3 has to get off the gilded chair and let the new kid have the scepter of power.
Today in Gear we check out 12 Years A Slave, Lance Armstrong’s deception, a speaker that listens to you, Lexus’s newest sports car and more.
Big guns for those haulin' runs
It’s no longer enough for a big SUV to transport seven; it has to look good and feel good (for both driver and passengers) while doing it. Our intrepid Octane crew drove five of the best seven-passenger SUVs out there and found a flavor for just about anyone. While none of these five SUVs are perfect, each is grand in its own right by virtue of style, quality and utility.
Making Detroit Shine
The North American International Auto Show is one of our favorite events of the year. It’s a time when just about every carmaker descends on Detroit, and the moment is a golden one. Picture it with us: gleaming steeds — SUVs, sports cars, sedans, pickups and more — as far as the eye can see, a field that’s tough to whittle down to our favorites. But we’ve done just that with these ten beauties, the best of NAIAS.
High-Speed Thrills at the Legendary Raceway
Lexus, when it was created in 1989, was itself a halo brand. Today Lexus is pushing its own groundbreaking products — that is, incredible vehicles — to reach new automotive heights. We were recently invited to experience those new halos, several of the company’s latest F models, this time at the very same proving grounds on which they were first developed: Fuji International Speedway. The opportunity provided a unique chance to study Lexus’s approach to the wide spectrum of automotive performance. It also gave us the chance to routinely push 150 mph right under the nose of Mount Fuji.
Rising Stars from the Rising Sun
Japanese cars have long been the epitome of reliability and trustworthiness, but they haven’t always been beautiful to look at. Things have changed with the current generation of Japanese cars, which boast great design and more personality than ever, along with driving dynamics that can rival (and even best) the Germans in some cases. Their bombproof reliability hasn’t been altered through the generations, either. Here are the ten best rising cars from the land of the rising sun.
Racing ferocity wrapped in quiet elegance
Lexus is no longer in the business of selling warmed-over Toyotas with nice interiors, and they haven’t been for some time. Indeed, the Lexus image has been completely revamped from its early days, and they’ve poised themselves in recent years as a formidable opponent to world-class luxury vehicles. Now, with their fully integrated F Sport lineup, the company has taken a solid shot across the reigning sport sedan titans’ respective bows; heralded by their flagship supercar, the LFA, Lexus is undeniably in the sport sedan business.
Land Rover Range Rover Autobiography Black It’s been 20 years since Land Rover’s offered a long wheelbase Range Rover, and with 6 inches more legroom than standard and a 17° (rather than the regular 8°) rear seat recline angle — they’re available as a bench or buckets — this is a solid comeback. Chauffeur lifestyle…
Fall for all of them
The end of the summer doesn’t mean that the best driving months are behind us. With the arrival of fall comes cooler temperatures, the rainbow of foliage colors and fewer vacationers on the open roads — all reasons to open up the throttle. But all leaf-scatterers are not created equal. Some have drop-tops for feeling the crisp air zip by your ears and others want to blast snaking backroads; still others will get you, your gear and your family to the annual fall camping spot. These ten cars — our favorites for taking fall driving to the next level — can do it all. If you’re lucky enough to drive one, your winter doldrums just got put on hold.
From isn't to IS
The suburbs of Austin, Texas are hilly, colorful and vast, and look especially pretty when seen out the windshield of the latest, all-new sports sedan. They’re even better looking when reduced to a racetrack blur. The 2014 Lexus IS F Sport has been redesigned to look sexier, feel more solid and drive harder, and recently gave us the distinct pleasure of melting scenery around the track at Driveway Austin while testing out its sporting mettle.
It IS here.
The wraps have just come off the 2014 Lexus IS before its official unveiling at the Detroit Auto Show, and the redesign effort has definitely not been wasted. More sculpted and aggressive than the car it replaces, the new IS sports the trademark spindle grille currently found on the LS, GS and ES. The fat…
Not just another cushy ride
Lexus, once the darling of middle-aged Asian-American women everywhere, is focusing more nowadays on driving experience as opposed to driving you to boredom. Lexus has also revised their design language to be more edgy, adventurous and sporty in appearance — relatively speaking, of course. What they’ve wrought is more than just a new brand-identifiable spindle grille, and it’s a change in the right direction. We’ve been tracking Lexus all year and even got in some track time in their new GS sporty sedan earlier this year; we came away impressed.
And you thought hybrids were dull
Lexus has teased a new LF-CC two-door hybrid concept ahead of this year’s Paris Motor Show that continues the dose of driving excitement originally injected into the brand by the LFA. Though similar in execution to last year’s LF-LC Concept, the new whip sports a bold spindle grille that looks massive enough to inhale small…
Lexus hones its edge
Gone, more or less, is the somewhat tepid and conservative design, replaced by the huge spindle grille (a la Audi Union style) and more sculpted sheet metal to carry forward the slightly more aggressive design language for the Lexus line. The old nomenclature will stay to include the base LS 460, the LS 460 L…
Drivers have their day
We approach track time like a fluffy white cat to Fancy Feast. That is, we lick our chops… which is exactly what happened in sunny Las Vegas on Superbowl weekend in the all-new 2013 Lexus GS and LFA supercar. With a bevy of Lexus staff and race car driver extraordinaire, Scott Pruett, we availed ourselves…
Bad weather, expert-driving and a supercar
Things don’t always come together but you try to make the most of it and sometimes, if you’re lucky, it works out for the better. Case in point. Not too long ago, we moseyed ourselves up to New York’s Monticello Motor Club for some lap time in the rip-roaring Lexus LFA. Unfortunately, Mother Nature and…
Sometimes more is more
The newly introduced Lexus LF-Gh Concept stands apart from the myriad anemically designed hybrids we’ve seen (sans the Bugatti 16C Galibier). But what makes this car so important is not its expected fuel efficiency but rather the bolder design direction it will take Lexus. Note the spindle-shaped grille, large and quite original, that seems to…
Not your parents' Lexus.
Earlier this week, Lexus invited Gear Patrol to get behind the wheel of the new 2011 Lexus CT 200h a few months ahead of its North American release this March. The punishing streets of New York aren’t what we’d call a typical test track, but the CT 200h is not your typical car, let alone…
Ages ago, I remember driving my family’s white 1992 Lexus ES300. My excitement for simply driving as a Tennessee permit holder masked the car’s utter blandness and miserable driving dynamics. I soon realized the car was a sleeper… literally, it just slept. This summer, Lexus is unveiling a decidedly ‘cheaper’ hybrid. Dubbed the Lexus HS250h,…