MAY 2017
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida Read the Editor's Blog. By Nitish Rele Classifieds Motoring Astrology Books Fashion Movies Finance Immigration Health Editorial News Content Find us on Facebook!


Test-drive stories by NITISH S. RELE –

LEXUS RX350 After a major re-do last year, the Lexus RX350 carries on as is for 2017. Under the hood of the five-passenger luxury SUV sits a 3.5-liter V-6 engine putting out 295 horsepower @ 6300 rpm and 268 pounds-feet of torque @ 4700 rpm. An 8-speed auto gearbox shifts seamlessly while ensuring fuel savings (we peaked at 33 mpg in solely highway driving!). Drive modes include eco, normal and sport.

The most noticeable exterior feature of the RX350 is the exceptionally huge spindle grille with a chrome-plated border and surrounded by triple L-shaped LED headlights. Step in to find the center stack angled toward the driver, making it easier to control buttons on the lowered dashboard. The 10-way power front seats, three-spoke power tilt/telescopic leather steering wheel and trunk, push-button start, auto dual a/c, metallic accents around the center of the instrument cluster, 40/20/40-split recline/slide fold rear seat, gated shifter and Lexus 9-speaker Premium audio come at no cost. A cool mouse-like Remote Touch (but not the best in the market) can be used to toggle navigation, climate, audio and phone controls, which are displayed on a huge 12.3-inch screen atop the familiar analog clock.

Ten airbags, vehicle stability/traction control, four-wheel antilock brakes with brake assist, active head rests for front seats, free-limiting seatbelt pretensioners for front seats and three-point seatbelts with pretensioners for rear seats, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights are standard.

Available in front-wheel or all-wheel drive, the RX 350 is a prudent choice for any potential SUV buyer. It boasts a classy and lively ride with a purposeful interior.



2017 HONDA ACCORDWhat Toyota doeth, so doeth Honda! Or vice versa. In this case, we have written about the Camry undergoing a major revamp next year. The same will happen to its closest rival, the Accord. We hear that the 2018 model will be sleek and bold. Till then, the current sedan should ‘drive’ just fine for potential buyers.

The 3.5-liter V-6 engine blasts off 278 horsepower @ 6200 rpm and 252 pounds-feet of torque @ 4900 rpm. Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) system operates in three or four cylinder modes to save fuel. Standard is a smooth 6-speed automatic transmission. But we wouldn’t be surprised if Honda adopts a 9-speed gearbox for 2018. Suspension is handed adeptly by a MacPherson strut front and multilink rear. An electric power steering confidently guides the midsize sedan toward its destination.

The front fascia sports LED headlights with a centered ‘H’ in the chrome-slathered grille. The interior shows off fresh wood grain, carbon weave and glossy piano black accents. A 7-inch audio touchscreen features Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, HondaLink Assist and HD radio. Directly in front of the driver are large analog instruments for tachometer, speedometer with a driver information center, and readings for fuel and coolant temp. A center console with two cup holders in front and an open storage bin under the dashboard is not just practical but also looks chic and opulent. The 15.8 cubic feet trunk capacity makes long-distance travel quite relaxing. A convenient feature is LaneWatch, which displays a wide-angle view of the passenger side road on the i-MID (Intelligent Multi-Information Display). The image appears when the right turn signal is activated. Other goodies are plush leather seats and tilt/telescopic steering wheel, push-button start, 10-way power driver seat, dual-zone a/c and heated front seats.

Standard safety features include dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, vehicle stability assist, four-wheel antilock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist, side-impact door beams, rearview camera, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights. Honda Sensing fetches you collision mitigation brakes, adaptive cruising control, lane keep assist, and forward collision and lane departure warnings.

Competition in the family sedan segment has always been fierce. Reasonably priced, this Honda shows off a degree of grace and energy found lacking in its challengers. It’s an ‘Accord’ we would sign on the dotted line without batting an eyelid!



2017 KIA NIRO HYBRIDHeading over to Atlanta this summer? Then we suggest checking out the all-new 2017 Kia Niro hybrid. The five-passenger compact crossover can go nearly 500 miles on a tank (11.9 gallons), thanks to its gas/electric technology. A 1.6-liter, 4-cylinder gasoline engine is mated to an electric motor, which is powered by a 1.56 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery. That is adequate enough to put out a total of 139 horsepower while paired to a laudable 6-speed dual clutch transmission. Basically, the front-wheel-drive Niro can run on gas, pure electric at low speeds or a blend of both.

The hybrid does offer a regenerative braking system for additional fuel savings. 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 as heat through the brakes. Instead, it converts the energy into useable electricity for recharging the battery.

A centered gloss black “tiger nose” grille meets up with sweptback bi-functional projector headlights and unique fog lamps to create a sleek and eye-catching appearance. Stepping into the cabin, our favorite is the attractively designed 4.2-inch instrument cluster of analog speedometer and the cool-appearing LCD hybrid gauge showing charge, eco and power readings, as well as EV mode. They are flanked by a clean digital driver information center. Standard amenities include 10-way power driver and six-way passenger seats, which are also heated and cooled, leather steering wheel and shifter, dual-zone a/c, 8-inch touch for navigation, radio and telephone controls, and push-button start. The 60/40 rear seat folds down to open up 54.5 cubic feet of space.

Kia should be commended for offering several standard safety features, which are optional in competitor vehicles. Some are dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag for both rows, driver knee airbag, rear camera, rear-cross traffic alert, front/rear park and lane change assist, blind spot detection, four-wheel antilock brakes, rollover sensor, electronic stability and traction control, hill-start assist and a tire pressure monitoring system.

The Niro is an excellent gas/electric hybrid effort from Kia. It is sharp-looking, sporty, useful and economical (base FE is available for just $22,890 with EPA estimates of 50 mpg). That it comes with a 10-year or 100,000-mile power train and a five-year or 60,000-mile basic warranty is a plus. Lest we forget, the lithium-ion battery is also covered for 10-year/100,000 miles.



2017 Acura ILXTHE RIDE: Four-door, five-passenger 2017 Acura ILX.

DOWN THE ROAD: After last year’s facelift, this entry-level sedan for Acura assures you a safe and adequate ride with superb handling and overall balance.

TECH & PERFORMANCE: Power is routed via a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, which develops 201 horsepower @ 6800 rpm and 180 pounds-feet of torque @ 4400 rpm. Though the 6-sped auto gearbox is just adequate, we would like to see an 8-speed replace it some day. Keeping the car stable enough to soak bumps is an independent suspension of front MacPherson strut and multilink rear. The electric power rack-and-pinion steering is quick, precise and direct.

LOOK & FEEL: Indeed, it is a stunner with the distinctive Acura jewel-eye LED headlights and tail lamps. The driver-oriented cabin is tailored and classy with such standard amenities as dual-zone auto climate control, power moon roof, supple leather seats and steering wheel, tilt/telescopic steering column, Bluetooth hands-free system, heated front seats, and Acura premium sound system. Sandwiched between the round speedometer and tachometer is the appropriately-placed but clear and legible Multi-Information Display, showing outside temp and fuel mileage figures.

SAFETY FIRST: Standard with the AcuraWatch Plus package are dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, vehicle stability control, four-wheel antilock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist, hill start assist, three-point seat belts, side-impact door beams, daytime running lights, tire pressure monitor, lane keep assist/warning, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and rear cross traffic alerts.

OUT THE DOOR: $34,980, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges.

BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, P215/45 R17 all season; wheelbase, 105.1 inches; length, 181.9 inches; weight, 3,137 pounds; fuel capacity, 13.2 gallons; city, 25 mpg, highway, 35 mpg; Web site,

WHY DIG IT: The striking ILX displays remarkable agility and response. An accommodating cabin along with smart tech/safety features should inspire interested folks to head on to the nearest Acura dealer for a test drive.

homeeventsbiz directorysubscribecontact uscontent newseditor's notehealthimmigration
financeayurveda/NUTRITIONmoviesfashionbooks/getawaysUS-Indo businessbeat
IIFA 2014astrologyyouthmotoringplaces of worshipclassifiedsarchivesBLOGFACEBOOK