MAY 2016
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida Read the Editor's Blog. By Nitish Rele Classifieds Motoring Cuisine Astrology Art/Youth Books Fashion Movies Finance Immigration Health Editorial News Content Find us on Facebook!


Test-drive stories by NITISH S. RELE,

2016 TOYOTA SIENNA It is inarguably, in our eyes, the best minivan on the road. So it doesn’t surprise us that for 2016, Toyota has left its third-generation Sienna intact. And the minivan continues to be offered in all-wheel drive as well if that’s to your liking. Under the hood resides the reliable 3.5-liter DOHC dual VVT inline-6 cylinder engine developing 266 horsepower @ 6200 rpm and 245 pounds-feet of torque @ 4700 rpm while mated to a 6-speed auto gearbox.

Step inside and the tri-zone climate control guarantees that all seven or eight passengers stay cool in summer. So do the second- and third-row sun shades. The second-row captain’s chairs slide 23 inches fore/art for easy ingress and egress to the third row, which can be stowed into the floor. Well-placed storage cubbies abound in the Sienna, which offers a huge front center console, dual glove box and 10 cup holders! And thanks to an eco indicator, the driver can tread lightly on the pedal to ensure fuel savings. Standard goodies include dual power-sliding doors, multi-information display with rearview camera, eight-way power driver’s seat, tilt/telescopic steering column and overhead compass.

The tasteful Sienna is a satisfying blend of genuine passenger- and cargo-hauling practicality. Besides, Toyota enjoys a solid reputation for durability and reliability.



2017 ELANTRAThis one is pretty much an all-new Elantra. Forget the previous power trains. The compact car is equipped with an all-new 2.0-liter inline-4 cylinder engine, which develops out 147 horsepower @ 6200 rpm and 132 pounds-feet of torque @ 4500 rpm; or the 1.4-liter turbocharged GDI 4-cylinder putting out 128 hp @ 5500 rpm and 156 pounds-feet of torque @ 3700 rpm. Transmission choices for the SE, Eco and Limited trims include a 6-speed manual or auto, and a 7-speed. Normal, eco and sport are the drive modes in the 0.27 drag-coefficient car.

Hyundai’s familiar hexagonal grille with chrome accents and projector headlights adorns the exterior fascia. Length is up by 0.8 inches and width increases by 1 inch from its predecessor. Unibody improvements include use of additional high-strength steel, enhanced suspension, more vertical damper and an isolated sub-frame to reduce noise. The attractive cabin offers such standard amenities as a/c, cloth seats, tilt/telescopic steering, power windows, outside mirrors and door locks, 60/40 rear seat, 6-way adjustable driver’s seat, and a 3.5-inch LCD instrument cluster. Trunk volume is a passable 14.4 cubic feet though total interior volume at 110.2 cubic feet is comparable to the midsize Cadillac CTS sedan.

Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, driver knee airbag, four-wheel antilock brakes with Electronic Brake Distribution and Brake Assist, front/rear crumple zones, Electronic Stability and Traction Control, front seatbelt pretensioners, remote keyless entry and tire pressure monitoring system are standard. But the Elantra now comes with several advanced safety technology like smart cruise control, lane departure and lane keep assist, blind spot monitor, and rear cross traffic alert, all for an extra cost.

The base manual SE starts at $17,150, ($100 less than outgoing model) the auto goes for $18,150 and the Limited from $22,350. The agile, fun-to-drive and gas-sipper Elantra is the perfect car for a daily roundabout. Folks, this is a no-brainer.



2016 AUDI S4Lead-foot drivers, you’ve been warned! Put pedal to the metal on this ride and you are off 0 to 60 in 4.9 seconds. And top speed is 155 mph. This high-performance version of the Audi A4 sedan will take your breath away with a 3.0-liter V-6 supercharged engine putting out an amazing 333 horsepower @ 5500 rpm and 325 pounds-feet of torque @ 2900 rpm.

Getting power to the ground on our S4 test drive is a 7-speed auto gear box though a 6-speed manual is also offered. That the luxury sports sedan is equipped with the legendary quattro permanent all-wheel drive should provide excellent balance. The electro-mechanical speed-sensitive power steering is quick and alert.

Up front, the Audi sports a single-frame grille with angled upper corners, slender xenon headlights, rectangular fog lamps, hood and bumpers with gaunt air inlets. Sliding into the 12-way power driver’s leather/Alcantara seat is a delight, mainly thanks to the flat-bottom three-spoke steering column. With rounded tachometer and speedometer gauges, the instrument cluster is an easily readable package. And who wouldn’t want the choice of four modes offered via Audi Drive Select: dynamic, comfort, auto or individual? Other cabin niceties include a tri-zone climate control, power open/close sun roof, 60/40 fold rear seat, brushed aluminum inlays, overhead sunglass holder and Audi concert radio.

If looking for a sedan to take you from A to B, take the 2.0-liter (211 hp and based $35,900) A4 for a test drive. But if you want a little bit of punch and zest in a ride, the rev-happy and powerful S4 will be more than happy to oblige.



2016 LEXUS GS450hTake the conventional Lexus GS350, exchange its power train with a hybrid version, and you have the GS450h. The midsize luxury sedan still gets the 3.5-liter Atkinson-cycle engine but this one, mated to electric motor/generators, cranks out 338 total horsepower. Zero to 60 mph is clocked at just 5.6 seconds with top speed limited at 137 mph. The rear-wheel or all-wheel-drive car is fitted with a 288-volt nickel-metal hydride battery, which is recharged by energy captured as the driver applies the brakes or coasts. Also, the Continuous Variable Transmission-equipped car gets a regenerative braking system. When the car is coasting or the brakes are applied, the electric power functions as a generator, capturing kinetic energy that would normally be lost. Instead, it converts the energy into useable electricity for recharging the batteries.

Lexus has revised the front end with its arrowhead-shaped HID headlights surrounded by the Lexus spindle grille, and LED rear combination lamps. Cabin ergonomics are of the highest quality with well-bolstered 10-way adjustable power front seats. The analog instrument cluster of speedometer and tachometer with a centered drive information center is logically laid out. Flanked by horizontal air vents under the touch screen, the analog clock conveys a rich ambiance. Creature comforts include power tilt/slide moon roof, dual-zone auto climate control, power tilt/telescopic steering column, keyless access and start, and LED ambient lights. And you can toggle navigation, climate, audio and phone controls with the mouse-like, easy-to-use controller on the console.

Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, front knee airbags, Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management with stability and traction control, four-wheel antilock brakes, front/rear crumple zones, three-point seatbelts for all, collapsible steering column, rearview camera, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights are standard.

The GS450h is a fun ride, delivers a splendid blend of performance and style. Hybrid or not, the GS is one of the smartest choices for any potential midsize luxury sedan buyer. All you need is close to or more than 60 Gs.



2016 Chevy SuburbanTake the Chevrolet Tahoe, super-size it and you basically have a Chevy Suburban. Jokes apart, the 2016 Suburban is the bigger sibling with a 14-inch longer wheelbase and stretched more than 20.4 inches in length.

In fact, the two full-size SUVs even share the sole 5.3-liter V-8 engine, which cranks 355 horsepower @ 5600 rpm and 383 pounds-feet @ 4100 rpm. The fully boxed frame is coupled to a vigorous 6-speed automatic transmission and comes in either rear-wheel or all-wheel-drive versions. Magnetic Ride Control, which adjusts the four-wheel independent suspension as per road conditions, brings toughness and rock-solid stability to the ride. GM’s Active Fuel Management system deactivates half of its eight cylinders to conserve gas while cruising or at slower speeds.

Safety features include dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag for all rows, four-wheel antilock brakes, stability and traction controls, front /rear sensors, lane departure warning and keep assist, blind spot monitor, vibrating safety-alert and rear-cross traffic seat, rearview camera, keyless start, daytime running lights and tire pressure monitoring system.

You can recognize a Suburban anywhere, thanks to its mammoth presence starting up front with a centered gold bowtie on the twin-port horizontal grille, HID headlights and 20-inch aluminum wheels. Ingress and egress to the second- and third-row seats, which can be operated via a button, is effortless. Other amenities include a tri-zone auto climate control, power four-spoke tilt/telescopic steering column and rear lift gate, six USB and power outlets each, 8-inch central infotainment screen, and 12-way power heated/cooled front seats.

At a base price of $67,310 (for our top-line LTZ trim), this isn’t a cheap drive. And neither are its fuel economy figures (at just 17 mpg in city/highway) anything to write about. But leave apart the two noes, the ½-ton Suburban will continue to attract buyers, mainly for its capability of carrying nine comfortably, towing up to 8,300 pounds and boasting cargo space of 121.1 cubic feet. No wonder, this full-sized SUV is a purposeful phenomenon that has served its buyers well for more than 80 years now. In fact, no other nameplate has been around that long without at least some time off.



2016 Lincoln MKX Since it debuted nine years ago, buyers have enjoyed riding in extravagance and style in the Lincoln MKX. Now with a major re-do, the midsize luxury SUV shows even more promise. Nearly an inch more in wheelbase and 1/2 inch in length from its predecessor, the second-generation model is equipped with an all-new engine too and a more appealing interior.

Available in front-wheel or all-wheel drive, the fresh 2.7-liter EcoBoost twin-turbocharged V-6 belts out 335 horsepower @ 5500 rpm and 380 pounds-feet of torque @ 3000 rpm. That is plenty of verve for the 4,447-pound vehicle to scoot from any speed. It retains the 6-speed auto gear box, which can be toggled via steering-wheel paddles. The MacPherson strut front and integral-link rear suspension holds the unibody structure together to ensure a supple ride. Credit goes to its electric power steering for effectively handling sharp turns and curves.

Making the Lincoln stand out in a crowd is the split-wing grille surrounded by HID headlights while signature full-wide tail lamps take up the rear. But it is in the extravagant, classy and exquisitely made cabin that the MKX shines. Passenger volume is a cool 108.3 cubic feet. Six-footers in the rear seat have substantial room to stretch legs, thanks to the recline feature. Standard amenities include heated/cooled and 10-way power front seats, dual-zone auto climate control, push-button gear shifter, remote start, MyLincoln Touch, power lift gate and tilt/telescopic steering column to accommodate drivers of any size.

Priced at $47,650, the MKX can peak at well over $63,000 with standalone options. The Lincoln boasts nippy acceleration, excellent handling and balance and good body control. Plus, it’s gorgeous to the eye inside and out. These should help justify the high-ticket item.


homeeventsbiz directorysubscribecontact uscontent newseditor's notehealthimmigration
financeayurveda/NUTRITIONmoviesfashionmusic/art/dancebooks/getawaysUS-Indo businessbeat
IIFA 2014astrologyyouthcuisinemotoringplaces of worshipclassifiedsarchivesBLOGFACEBOOK