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, motoringtampabay@gmail.com

2016 LEXUS RX450h If there is a dream luxury sedan, this is it. Of course, you can acquire a similar Audi, Mercedes or BMW, but for far more money than the Lexus GS350. For 2016, the 3.5-liter V-6 power train has been retained to crank out 305 horsepower (increase of 6 from its predecessor) @ 6400 rpm and 280 (up by 3) pounds-feet of torque @ 4800 rpm. Available as a rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, the 3,726-pound midsize car can scoot 0 to 60 in a mere 5.7 seconds with a top speed of 143 mph. Power reaches the wheels via a seamless 8-speed auto transmission, which also can be shifted via steering-wheel paddles.

Soaking up hurdles with skill, sure-footedness and poise is a double wishbone front and multilink rear suspension. Handling and steering feel is solid, thanks to a variable-speed sensing power system. And depending on road conditions (and sometimes the mood!), you can take off in eco, sport, normal or sport+ modes.

Ensconced on the unitized steel body are 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 heated/cooled front seats. The analog instrument cluster of speedometer and tachometer with a centered drive information center is logically laid out. Conveying a rich ambiance is Gray Sapele wood on the doors and steering wheel with aluminum trim. 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 for the massive 12.3-inch touch screen with a mouse-like, easy-to-use controller on the console.

Standard safety features include 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, blind-spot monitor, rearview camera, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights.

Peppy, fun to rev and lunging forward with fervor at each turn, the GS350 delivers a splendid blend of performance and flair. To fulfill your dream, all you need now is $50,000 and change. Plenty of it.

GS350 (RWD)


Well, except for a revamped exterior fascia and some standard luxury add-ons, the 2017 MDX doesn’t see a whole lot of changes. That’s because Acura revamped its luxury SUV a couple years ago. The 3.5-liter V-6 continues to develop 290 horsepower @ 6200 rpm and 267 pounds-feet of torque @ 4500 rpm. And one couldn’t have a smoother nine-speed gearbox. Once again, the MDX is offered in front-wheel and all-wheel drive. Thanks to the Integrated Dynamics System (IDS), the driver can choose sport, normal and comfort settings. Looking to save fuel? The Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) system can operate in three or four cylinder modes for substantial fuel savings.

Out go the familiar jewel-eye headlights to be replaced by a new diamond-pentagon grille along with a new hood, fenders and LED headlights. Other standard features for 2017 are electric parking brake with auto brake hold, auto high-beam headlights, cap less fuel system, and extra USB charging ports. The supersized center console bin, which is 2 inches deeper and wider and 5 inches longer, can accommodate a laptop. And the second-row seat can go fore and aft 6 inches so third-row passengers can settle in effortlessly. Other amenities are tri-zone auto climate control, power rear tailgate and moon roof, 10-way power front seats and wood trim.

Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, driver knee airbag, four-wheel antilock brakes, front/rear crumple zones, side-impact door beams, vehicle stability assist with traction control, lane departure warning and lane-keep assist (which maintains the ride in its path), blind-spot monitor, collision mitigation system, multi-angle rearview camera, daytime running lights and tire pressure monitoring system are standard. These now include all the safety technology that comes with AcuraWatch.

Packed with tech-savvy trimmings, the solid MDX displays swift acceleration, lavish cargo/passenger space and worthy fuel economy despite its nearly 4,300-pound weight.



Close on the heels (bumper in this case) of our 2016 Honda Accord sedan test drive, we received the 2017 coupe version. Like its counterpart, the coupe received a slight refreshing, so it will continue mostly unchanged into next year. Once again, the 3.5-liter V-6 engine cranks out 278 horsepower @ 6200 rpm and 252 pounds-feet of torque @ 4900 rpm. The 6-speed auto transmission is standard.

Ensconced on the unit-body structure (made up of aluminum and steel front sub frame) is a MacPherson strut front. Along with the independent multilink rear, the system works splendidly to absorb unpleasant highway bumps and unexpected sharp turns. The direct electric power rack-and-pinion steering offers a tight-turning radius.

Aggressive is the keyword as far as looks go in this stylish and sporty coupe. Take the rakish roofline, long hood and wedge-shaped rear windows. The front fascia sports projector-beam headlights with a centered ‘H’ in the chrome-slathered grille. Greeting the driver are large analog instruments for the tachometer, centered speedometer with an information center, and readings for fuel and coolant temp. The 7-inch Intelligent Multi-Information Display (i-MID) displays information for audio, navigation, Bluetooth, rearview camera, fuel economy, texting, compass, clock, etc. Metallic accents on the audio/climate controls give the airy cabin an inviting and lavish look. Boosting the aura are blue ambient console lights and red-on-white needles in the instrument panel. Other amenities are plush leather seats and tilt/telescopic steering wheel, push-button start, 10-way driver power seat, dual-zone a/c, center console with armrest and heated front seats.

Base-priced at $34,375, the Accord delivers an energetic and competent ride with plenty of passing ability. Its muscular stance and awesome performance make this coupe a win-win in our eyes. This is one ‘Accord’ for which you should have no hesitation signing on the dotted line.



A carryover from last year with a few tweaks inside and out, the Toyota RAV4 has stood the test of time since debuting in 1996. Though our test-drive model wasn’t equipped with all-wheel drive, the SUV displayed decent handling and crisp steering.

Under the hood of the compact SUV resides a 2.5-liter DOHC V-6 engine with Variable Valve Timing developing 176 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 172 pounds-feet of torque at 4100 rpm. Power is put to the road through a 6-speed automatic transmission.

The bold front fascia sports projector-beam halogen headlights flanking a chrome grille with the Toyota emblem. All new are front and rear silver-skid plate garnishes. Touches of brushed metallic silver finish are evident as you slide behind the three-spoke leather tilt/telescopic steering wheel. The 60/40-split second-row seat slides fore and aft to open up plenty of legroom for passengers. Fold the seat down and you get a mammoth 73.4 cubic feet of cargo space. Storage areas are scattered throughout the cabin, including an open bin atop the glovebox, center console box, eight cup/bottle holders and overhead sunglass holder. Other notable standard amenities include dual-zone auto a/c, 4.2-inch multi-information display screen, six-way adjustable driver and four-way front-passenger seats, height-adjustable power lift gate, and moon roof.

Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag and driver knee airbag are standard along with side-impact door beams, four-wheel antilock brakes, Electronic Brake Distribution and Brake Assist, Traction Control, Vehicle Stability Control, rearview camera and front and rear crumple zones are standard.

If you need to seat five in comfort behind a roomy and safe ride, equipped with a responsive power train, the RAV4 should be at the top of your list. Besides, it comes with Toyota’s solid reputation for reliability and durability.


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