2018 Buick Regal TourX – The Station Wagon Is Back In The US

In the automotive market, 2018 has begun much like every year this decade. Crossovers are the vehicle of choice by consumers and with each passing year, brands introduce new models to appeal to the growing demand for small SUV’s that provide road clearance, cargo space, and for some, off-road capability. Throughout this era of crossover dominance, there’s been a sentiment festering in the hearts of some Americans who want station wagons to once again have a presence in car brands’ lineups. The good news is that their wishes have been granted by GM with the all new Buick Regal TourX.

For Buick, this is the first time since 1996 that they’ve offered a station wagon. At first glance the TourX has a very European look and that’s because of the collaboration between Opel and GM. In the UK, the TourX is known as the Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer. Many often refer to the TourX as being a twin to the Audi A4 Allroad, and while they do share similar design cues in terms of appearance, there is absolutely no relation. However, this is a blessing for Buick, as any similarity to a well known German station wagon could yield high rewards in the near future.

Buick is offering their station wagon at a base price of $29k, with the most expensive trim, the Essence, topping out at around $42k. There’s only one engine option: A turbocharged four cylinder engine that gets 250 hp and 295 lb ft of torque, and is paired with an 8 speed automatic transmission. For the drivetrain, AWD does come standard on the Regal TourX. The most important specification on this station wagon however is just how much cargo room you get. With the rear seats up, the TourX comes with 35 cubic ft of cargo room, but when the seats are folded down, that room doubles in size, outclassing all competition in it’s price range.

A lot of that has to do with Buick going with a mid-sized station wagon, rather than competing against the smaller Volkswagen Golf Alltrack. The TourX provides more cargo room than the Audi A4 Allroad, and in fact is more in line with most crossovers in terms of interior dimensions, but is significantly cheaper. Buick’s goal is to take on the crossovers in it’s price range, primarily the Subaru Outback. While the TourX isn’t an off-roader by any means, it’s a viable alternative as a daily driver for consumers who want the sensation of driving a car, but still have the cargo room that can be found in a Honda CR-V and Toyota Rav4.

Ultimately, the most appealing aspect of this station wagon is the fact that it offers European luxury for less than the German and Swedish competitors. While there are GM elements that make up the interior of the TourX, it can be said that it’s at least on par with crossovers in it’s price range, and I’d argue that the interior is better than what you’d find on a Volkswagen Golf Alltrack.

When taking a look at the TourX Essence which is the top trim, you’ll get leather seats, a heated steering wheel, dual zone climate control, and an 8″ touch screen display. You’ll get a navigation system, along with up to date traffic reports, and even a 5 day weather outlook. A panoramic moonroof is optional, which brings in a lot of natural light and just gives the TourX a more luxurious feel. Optional packages include a number of safety features such as rear park assist, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, lane departure warning, and front automatic braking.

Overall the TourX is a breath of fresh air in an automotive era filled with crossovers, especially in a price range at or below $40k. Hopefully in the near and not to distant future, American auto manufacturers build off what Buick is offering: 250 hp and AWD coming standard, no CVT transmission, and styling that is very appealing, even to consumers who aren’t in the market for a station wagon. Time will decide whether the TourX is the beginning of a new trend in the automotive world, but with other station wagons like the Audi A4 Allroad, Volvo V60 and V90, and the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack on the market, it could be argued that station wagons are creeping back into the United States.

The 2018 New England International Auto Show

This past weekend was the New England International Auto Show in Boston, with this year featuring a Pagani Huayra, Porsche 918, Lamborghini Aventador SV, Bugatti Veyron, the completely re-designed Aston Martin Vantage, and the Porsche 911 GT2 RS!

Here’s the video from Thursday’s Press Day, where we got to take an exclusive look inside the GT2 RS and check out some of the brand new cars that are arriving in dealership showrooms this year!

Look forward to reviews coming this year on some of the cars in this video. The Toyota Camry XSE was very impressive, as it’s two-toned exterior and red interior certainly grabbed attention. Also the all new Buick Regal TourX made it’s Boston debut, which comes with 250 hp standard.

2017 Ford Focus RS Review

Huge thank you to Muzi Ford in Needham, Massachusetts for allowing me to take a look at the 2017 Ford Focus RS. The RS is the ultimate year round vehicle for car enthusiasts, as it’s performance and AWD drivetrain lets the driver have fun on the road, the track, and in the winter.

Here’s the full review of the Focus RS. Also, visit Muzi Ford’s website to check out their extensive Ford inventory!

http://www.muziford.com

2018 Volvo S60 T5 Dynamic – The Perfect Daily Driver

In 2017, car buyers have plenty of options to choose from. They can purchase a sedan, crossover, full sized SUV, or hatchback, but it gets even more difficult when you narrow it down to a specific category within the automotive market. For luxury sedans, consumers can go with BMW, Audi, Mercedes Benz, Alfa Romeo, Lexus, Acura, and Jaguar, but for the person who wants a compromise between safety, luxury, and performance, the Volvo S60 is the ideal car that suits the needs of many Americans.

Monday I got to spend time with a 2018 S60 T5 Dynamic, courtesy of Volvo Village in Danvers, Massachusetts. If you’re familiar with the second generation S60, you know that over time its appearance has become more aggressive and sporty. Starting with the 2017 model year, the Dynamic trim was introduced, and with that brought a slight change as the 2018 I got to review had the 18″ Tucan Diamond Cut Black Alloy wheels that come standard.

Volvo has integrated sporty qualities to compliment the luxurious aspect on the S60 by providing sport seats standard that will literally hug you while you’re driving. Combined with the fact that they’re leather and heated, no matter what time of year or the weather, your experience behind the wheel will be an enjoyable and comfortable one. Adding on to the luxury appeal for the interior, you get a Harman/Kardon premium sound system, a navigation system, dual zone climate control, and a leather wrapped steering wheel.

Passengers in the back will be greeted with very comfortable and supportive bench seats that will keep them in place, and give them good leg room. They’ll have rear cup holders that fold down from the center seat, along with a storage compartment that can fit smartphones and other small items.

When it comes to Volvo, safety is the number one priority. Blind Spot Information System, Brake assist, Rear Park Assist Sensors, Rear Park Assist Camera, and anti-whiplash front head restraints highlight the safety features on the S60.

For performance, you’ll get a turbocharged 4 cylinder engine with 240 hp and 258 lb feet of torque. An 8 speed automatic transmission w/Geartronic comes standard, but paddle shifters are optional. When it comes to fuel economy, you can expect to receive 23 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. Volvo also offers two drivetrain variants on the S60, FWD and AWD, with front wheel drive getting slightly better gas mileage.

The S60 I got to review was the base AWD trim with the heated front seats and steering wheel package. One of the options that Volvo offers include: the $1000 Sports Package that gets you paddle shifters, sports chassis, electric power steering personalization, and 19″ Portia Diamond Cut Alloy Wheels. The Technology and Vision packages offer additional safety features, such as Collision Warning w/ Full Auto Brake & Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, Adaptive Cruise Control w/ Queue Assist, Lane Keeping Aid, and Driver Alert Control to name a few.

Overall the 2018 Volvo S60 T5 Dynamic is a great daily driver. You get safety, luxury, and performance, along with AWD as an option. The MSRP of the S60 I reviewed is $41k, but the front wheel drive variants start around $34k. It’s reasonably priced, making the S60 a serious competitor to the BMW 3 Series and others in its class. Volvo has made strides against their German counterparts over the past few years, and with their resurgence in the luxury market, Volvo can no longer be overlooked.

Upcoming Car Events and Cars & Coffees For September In Boston

Here’s the list of upcoming car events and Cars & Coffees for the month of September. If you know of any other large car events this month, comment below and I’ll add them to the list.

McLaren Boston
McLaren Boston
Herb Chambers C&C
Herb Chambers C&C
Seacoast Cars and Coffee
Seacoast Cars and Coffee

September 10th is Seacoast Cars & Coffee up in Portsmouth, NH.

For more information you can visit their website:
Seacoast Cars & Coffee Website

You can also check out their Facebook Page:
Seacoast Cars & Coffee Facebook Page

There’s three car events this month at Larz Anderson Auto Museum.

Larz Anderson Car Events September
Larz Anderson Car Events September
The Boston Cup
The Boston Cup
NorthEast Classic
NorthEast Classic

At Gilette Stadium in Foxborough, there’s Bass Pro Shops Cruise Night on Thursday nights from 4-8pm. This is a bi-weekly event that usually gets a turnout between 1000 and 2000 cars. Here are the two upcoming cruise nights.

Bass Pro Shops Cruise Night
Bass Pro Shops Cruise Night

As always, I’ll continue to update this article if any large car events pop up within the next few days and weeks.

Upcoming Car Events and Cars & Coffees For June in Boston

Here’s the list of upcoming car events and Cars & Coffees for the month of June. If you know of any other large car events this month, comment below and I’ll add them to the list.

McLaren Boston
McLaren Boston
Herb Chambers C&C
Herb Chambers C&C
Boston Cars & Coffee
Boston Cars and Coffee at Larz Anderson

In addition to Boston Cars & Coffee at Larz Anderson, there’s special events held at the museum each weekend. Here’s the four car events at Larz for the month of June.

Screen Shot 2017-05-23 at 10.43.59 AM

It’s an hour drive from Boston, but up in Portsmouth, New Hampshire there’s Seacoast Cars & Coffee on June 4th

Seacoast Cars and Coffee
Seacoast Cars and Coffee

For more information you can visit their website: http://www.seacoastcarsandcoffee.com

You can also check out their Facebook Page: Seacoast Cars & Coffee Facebook Page

As always, I’ll continue to update this article if any large car events pop up within the next few days and weeks.

Aston Martin of New England Showroom – Experiencing British Automotive Heritage

On May 13th, Aston Martin of New England held an open house/Cars & Coffee event at their dealership in Waltham, Massachusetts to help kick off the beginning of car season in Massachusetts. While I was there, I spent about an hour filming inside their showroom to create a video that would bring an appreciation to the craftsmanship and design of the cars made by the British automaker, along with the handful of German cars also on display. It was the best and most rewarding hour I’ve spent at a car event in a very long time.

Starting off, I want to say thanks to the people at Aston Martin of New England for allowing me to film in their showroom as the event was coming to a close and everyone started to leave. Being the only person surrounded by Aston Martins, vintage Porsche 911’s, and a new Lotus Evora 400, I was able to take in British automotive heritage. Aston Martins are more than just cars used by James Bond for over 40 years, they’re at the pinnacle of British luxury, design, and performance. These beautiful cars symbolize the very best of the automotive industry, bringing a sense of class, sophistication, and properness that only the British could offer.

The center of attention in the Aston Martin showroom is without a doubt the 1988 Vantage V8 Zagato, a car priced at $795k, and across the room near the window, the all new DB11. Two prime examples of Aston Martin staying true to their heritage. The time spent in that room made me appreciate the automaker even more, as for the first time in a dealership, I was able to film and understand why cars like Aston Martins are at the center of many people’s dreams. Instead of looking at a picture on the internet or watching a YouTube video, I was seeing and experiencing these cars through my own eyes, that can only be truly appreciated if you’re in complete solitude.

So without further ado, here’s the video from the Aston Martin of New England’s showroom. I hope you enjoy!

Upcoming Car Events and Cars & Coffees For April and May in Boston

Car season has officially begun in the Boston area! Here are the upcoming events in and around Boston for April and May!

Art of the Automobile
Art of the Automobile
McLaren Boston
McLaren Boston
Herb Chambers C&C
Herb Chambers C&C
Mercedes Benz of Burlington
Mercedes Benz of Burlington
Aston Martin of New England
Aston Martin of New England

In addition to these events, there’s also Boston Cars & Coffee held at Larz Anderson Auto Museum on May 20th!

The Larz Anderson lawn event schedule for 2017 can be found here: Larz Anderson Lawn Events 2017

Car season 2017 in Boston is going to be a great year! I’ll continue to update this article if anymore large car events pop up

Alfa Romeo Unveils The All New Stelvio – Everything We Want In An SUV

It’s finally here, the all new Alfa Romeo Stelvio. The fourth model the Italian automaker has brought to the United States in the past decade to reintroduce the brand to the New World. In true Italian style, Alfa Romeo has made it’s presence known even before walking through the door, as the Giulia hasn’t hit showrooms yet, but will very soon. The Stelvio introduces Alfa to the SUV market, and they’ve swung for the fences at their first at bat.

With the unveiling of the Stelvio Quadrifoglio, the generation of immediate buzz in the automotive world has been deafening, as the Italian SUV is set to be the fastest in its class at the Nurburgring. With a Ferrari powered V6 engine producing 505 horsepower, no one up to this point has produced a faster SUV, not including the Tesla Model X which is electric. Better yet, the Stelvio is capable of a 0-60 time of 3.9 seconds, which is faster than the Alfa Romeo 4C. Not even Porsche can boast that it produces the fastest SUV, as the Macan and Cayenne have met their match.

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More importantly than the performance is the styling. Alfa designed the Stelvio similar to the Giulia, which will only make it more attractive to new buyers. One of the biggest concerns with early renders of the Stelvio was it’s face, as it took on the appearance of the Giulietta. While the initial styling was up to par, had Alfa Romeo stuck with the design, it’s possible that early receptions wouldn’t have been positive.

Together, the Giulia and Stelvio give Alfa a chance to compete and even stand out in a very crowded market for both crossovers and small sports sedans. Also contrary to where the luxury market is heading, Alfa is promoting driving experience and performance while the Germans are fixated on driver assisting technologies. Right now, the Italians have an opportunity to change the landscape in the current automotive market, and reintroduce driving pleasure and fun behind the wheel. Needless to say, the Giulia and Stelvio’s appearances are distinct, and brings a new breath of fresh air into a very stale luxury performance segment.

The Stelvio is expected to hit showrooms sometime next year, and we can only hope that there are no delays, as Alfa Romeo pushed back the Giulia’s arrival to the US market multiple times. Over the next few months we should get a better idea of the true performance and craftsmanship, when car reviewers get behind the wheel.

The future looks bright for Alfa Romeo heading into 2017. The only dark clouds that linger is the reliability of the Giulia and Stelvio. If the Italians can hit a home run with these two models, not only will that ensure their survival in the US, but we’ll get bigger and better vehicles from the brand that understands what being a true car enthusiast is all about.

Porsche Commercial: Creating A Connection

What lacks from most automotive advertisements is emotion, passion, and a connection between the driver-to-be and the car. Vehicles are often more than just objects to people. For some, cars are a means of transportation, going from one destination to another, but for others, vehicles are a way of life. Some of you may ask, “How can there be such a relationship where the driver is completely engaged with the car?” Certain brands have built and engineered cars that make the driver feel as if they’re one with the car they own, and feeling very connected to the road through the twists and turns on a back country road. These machines grasp the imagination and excitement of drivers and kids of all ages.

Porsche’s commercial, presumably from 2005, pulls at the heartstrings of car enthusiasts. At one point or another in a person’s life, they looked out the window daydreaming of the sports car they’d own when they got older. No doubt that the Porsche 911 was on a poster in kids’ bedrooms, as even today, the 911 is an exotic car many only dream of owning. In a commercial that is primarily music with very limited dialogue, the kid is drawn in by the Porsche’s presence as it passes his school. He’s so captivated that immediately after school he rides his bike to the nearest Porsche dealership just to get a close up look at the new 911.

When he’s allowed to sit in the cabin, his emotions can easily be felt by the viewers. Even today as adults, we space out when we finally get to touch the car that’s been at the center of our dreams for years, or for one split second, we see ourselves driving it. Porsche’s commercial hits all the right notes that no doubt motivated people to buy the car immediately, or work harder to obtain their aspirations of owning a 911.

While there are a few funny moments when the kid asks for the salesman’s business card, or when he says he’ll see him again in 20 years, it still ties into the message, which is the connection to the car itself. Emotion and feeling are often the greatest motivators in life, yet car commercials of today don’t express what the consumer is feeling. Instead, it’s marketing the features of the car, or the add-ons that can be seen on most models in 2016, that’s taken precedence over what the consumer desires.

Owning a car should be fun, especially when consumers buy exactly what they wanted. A Porsche 911 is the car that enthusiasts want because it hugs the road, offers performance and luxury, and gives the owner many years of smiles and memories. These feelings haven’t died as some have suggested, including the Washington Post which had an article saying car culture is shrinking in the United States. Enthusiasts beg to differ as car shows and events are growing at a rapid rate across the country. Car enthusiasm isn’t dying, it’s being awoken.

Luxury car manufacturers are experiencing high volumes in sales, and for those who aren’t, it’s time to start reviving the emotion, joy, and excitement that once drew customers toward the brand. Instead of trying to be funny, or marketing your cars for what they aren’t, be real. Consumers are human beings with emotions, and their buying decisions are made through those emotions. Start appealing to the younger generations, get them excited for the vehicles you offer.

By not bringing your cars to life, you become like every other high volume seller. Bring back the emotion and appeal that has a lasting impact on consumers, and you’ll begin to see a loyal following that will continue to buy from your brand. Only then will you find the voice that speaks up amongst the rest on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.