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2015 Yukon Denali 2WD Test Drive and Review

Posted: 27 Nov 2014 06:00 AM PST

2015 GMC Yukon Denali 1

2015 GMC Yukon Denali 1

Last month I spent some time with GMC Marketing Manager, Stu Pierce, talking about the brand's purposeful upscale approach to building the new Yukon, Yukon Denali and the longer wheelbase XL versions. Pierce explained that the concept of building capable work vehicles that offered a high level of comfort and luxury drove the design and execution of the entire 2015 GMC line-up. My week with the all-new 2015 Yukon Denali 2WD convinced me that GMC succeeded, even exceeded, expectations.


GMC Marketing Manager, Stu Pierce

First glance at the new exterior gave the impression of a muscle-bound brute wearing a tuxedo. Although it is apparent that the Yukon has spent some time in etiquette school, the proportions and dimensions of the full-size SUV left little to the imagination. The giant chrome grill, wide hulky stance, boxy lines, and massive optional 22-inch wheels, declare that GMC's new Yukon means business.

2015 GMC Yukon Denali 3

The interior of the new Yukon, especially in the Denali trim, offers an elevated level of functional luxury. The leather upholstery, complemented by real wood and aluminum trim, creates a pampered level of comfort that belies the exterior's aggressive styling. Once you step up into the Denali's cavernous interior and close the doors, you immediately forget that you are sitting inside a body-on-frame bruiser that is capable of towing 8,400 lbs.

2015 GMC Yukon Denali 4

GMC has gone to great lengths to provide a quiet cabin. The Denali's standard active noise cancellation, combined with exterior tweaks designed to reduce wind buffeting, keep the outside noise out. Even having a conversation with my daughter in the third row is a real possibility, of course the iPhone earbuds present another obstacle, but you can hardly blame that on the SUV.


The driver and front passenger have plenty of room; the heated and ventilated seats are comfortable and forgiving, even on longer road trips. The center console is gigantic, I was able to fit my entire camera bag inside and close the lid. Considering that I couldn't fit the same bag in the trunk of the Jaguar F-Type convertible, the irony here made me smile.



Second row passengers will enjoy the 2015's increased legroom and better access due to the increased door opening size. Unfortunately, the third row is more of a plus three than an actual usable third row for adults. The shallow rise of the seat is the biggest problem; legroom is minimal at best. The longer wheelbase XL model remedies this issue to an extent and if you have a large family, I would encourage the bigger vehicle. Considering the additional rear cargo space when all seating is in use – 38.9 versus 15.3 cubic feet – the XL would make an excellent road trip vehicle for seven to nine, with optional first row bench seat, adults.


Powering the 2015 Yukon and Yukon Denali are a duo of powerful and efficient V8 EcoTec3 engines. The Yukon and Yukon XL come standard with GM’s new 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque 5.3-liter V-8. Gas mileage, thanks in part to direct injection and cylinder deactivation, comes in at an inspiring 16-mpg city and 23-mpg highway. Yukon Denali models, like the vehicle I reviewed, are equipped with a beefy 6.2-liter V-8 that creates a segment-leading 420-horsepower and 460-pound-feet of torque. Gas mileage, thanks again to GM's technology, remains high, at a respectable 15-mpg city and 22 on the highway. Although my review vehicle was an early 2015 model equipped with a 6-speed, all Yukon Denali models built after October 5, 2014, thanks to a midyear cycle refresh, receive an 8-speed automatic. All Yukon's are available in either rear or four-wheel drive configurations.

2015 GMC Yukon Denali 10

Handling in the Yukon is excellent. The new electric power steering is precise and confidence building. The Yukon continues with a rear live-axle leaf spring design, but the 2015 enhancements include a wider rear track and now standard fully automatic locking rear differential.


The Denali models come equipped with GM's magnetic ride control system. The next generation of the manufacturer's lauded system, magnetic ride control constantly adjusts the Yukon's suspension in an effort to provide precise control and a consistently smooth ride over uneven terrain. The difference is tangible; the "truck" quality that previous Yukon owners had complained about is all but absent.


The Yukon Denali comes standard with a bevy of active safety control features including forward collision alert and blind spot monitoring. GMC has a fun way of letting you know when you are wandering around the roadway, the safety alert seat wiggles your bottom when you cross a painted lane marker or you are about to side-swipe an unsuspecting driver in a sub-compact.


The 10-speaker Bose surround sound infotainment system fills the cabin with crystal-clear audio and enough bass to make neighboring vehicles take notice. The 8-inch touch screen and navigation are easy to use and intuitive, never requiring me to dig out the owner's manual during my weeklong review. I have grown fond of GM's center console and dash clusters; to me they just make sense. Everything is where I expect it to be and controls are immediately responsive. While it may not be the flashiest system out there, it is one of the most powerful and friendliest.



In many ways, GMC's all-new Denali is an absolute homerun. For GM to be able to build a vehicle that is equal parts luxurious beauty and performance beast, yet is capable of up to 23 miles per gallon on regular gas is incredible.


The standard 2015 Yukon SLE starts at a reasonable $46,990. However, GMC's new Yukon Denali, and all of its luxury, begins at a pricier $63,770 and my loaded-up early 2015 review vehicle tips the scales at a hefty $71,720.

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Jay Leno Celebrates 1 Million YouTube Subscribers on Garage Channel with 2015 Mustang GT Donuts: Video

Posted: 26 Nov 2014 06:57 AM PST



Jay Leno's Garage has been, in a literal sense, a nice ride with the famous late-night talk show host and down-to-earth automotive enthusiast. Many of his Garage videos have brought to light several sports and exotic cars that we would otherwise never get to chance to see such a fascinating side of – roaring down the streets of southern California where Leno calls home. As a tribute and celebration to his 1 million YouTube subscribers on the Jay Leno's Garage channel, Jay inscribes "1,000,000" on pavement in the form of rubber laid down by a new 2015 Ford Mustang GT 5.0 6-speed manual. Check it out.

2015 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring Real-World Quick Spin

Posted: 26 Nov 2014 06:51 AM PST



The advancements of technology have virtually paved the way for hybrid vehicles to fit in with the mainstream of automobiles, matching performance and excelling in fuel economy. The new Honda Accord Hybrid, after spending a week with it once again, has sparked my interest and newfound love for hybrid vehicles.


I had the opportunity to check out the 2015 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring, remaining unchanged from its introduction 2014 model year. Walking away from the Accord Hybrid I can honestly say I am intrigued and basically shocked by the astonishing gas mileage I was able to conjure out of this hybrid sedan.

See Also: 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring Review & Test Drive

Going over my initial conceptions of the new Honda Accord Hybrid Touring, as noted in my 2014 review and test drive post, I can attest to the Accord Hybrid truly meeting its EPA mpg estimates and exceeding them on several occasions. My drives of the Accord Hybrid consisted of back-road adventures, 40-mile-long trips on mostly interstates and some mixed city driving with heavy traffic. In all of those conditions I walked way meeting and frequently beating the stated fuel consumption numbers.


The 2015 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring, retaining all redesigned aspects from its 2014 model year intro, is powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine along with two electric motors. The power is directed to what Honda claims to be an E-CVT (continuously variable transmission), but is, however, a set of planetary gears and clutch sets that vary ratios to power the front wheels. The system, working in sync with the engine much like a traditional CVT unit, proves to be quite the performer reacting quickly to your throttle inputs to propel the vehicle without any unexpected drama or hesitation. The initial acceleration is always handled by the robust electric motor to get things in motion from the ample torque of the electric motors. After getting moving around 15 mph or so the gas engine seamlessly fires to aid in acceleration. At times the system will run solely on electric power, even at highway speeds. Together, Honda has created a highly advanced system that does what it needs to in the background to yield astonishing fuel consumption numbers.


As an example of an astonishing real-world mpg figure, I was able to walk away with a solid 53.4 mpg when driving on the highway with a little city driving mixed in. I purposely avoided any conscious hypermilling or eco-driving, I basically drove like I would to keep up with the flow of traffic, and still, 53 mpg captured my attention when arriving at my driveway from a trip of just under 40 miles.


There is no doubt that the new Honda Accord Hybrid is a marvel. It does as advertised and sometimes even better in the aspect of fuel economy. Moreover, the Accord Hybrid Touring offers a seamless experience where the vehicle hardly ever deviates from giving you a drivetrain any different from the normal Accord 4-cylinder or even V6-powered trim levels. I welcome you to check out the test drive review from a few months ago when I first had the opportunity to experience the new Honda Accord Hybrid Touring, which carries over for the 2015 model year virtually unchanged.

Be sure to check out the full review on the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring.

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Copyright: 2014 AutomotiveAddicts.com


  • Price: Base Accord Hybrid Sedan $29,945 / As-Tested Accord Hybrid Touring $35,695 engine: 2.0 liter DOHC 4-cylinder with two electric motors 195  horsepower / 226 lb-ft of torque total system output (electric motor 166-hp – acts as sole drive for 40 mph and under from generated power via 4-cylinder engine)
  • Transmission: E-CVT (Gearset system with clutch activation)
  • Wheelbase: 109.3 in.
  • Total length: 192.2 in.
  • Total width: 72.8 in.
  • Total height: 57.5 in.
  • Curb weight: 3,550 lbs.
  • Track: f/r-62.4/62.4 in.
  • Headroom: f/r-39.1/37.5 in.
  • Legroom: f/r-42.5/38.5 in.
  • Cargo volume: 12.7 cu.ft.
  • Turing circle: 39.6 ft.
  • Fuel tank: 15.8 gallons
  • EPA mileage: 50 mpg city / 45 mpg highway
  • 0-60 mph: 7.2 seconds

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2014 Lexus RX 450h Hybrid Quick Spin

Posted: 26 Nov 2014 05:36 AM PST



Paving the path for a luxury hybrid crossover vehicle, Lexus has been at the forefront for many years taking the excellent and proven platform of the RX SUV and utilizing their historic hybrid know-how to add extra efficiency. Since its conception in 2008 as the RX 400h, the Lexus RX hybrid has been a major staple in a rather miniscule hybrid SUV segment.


Taking a quick recap and spin in the 2014 Lexus RX 450h Hybrid reminds me of why the brand has stood out among others to offer such an compelling vehicle, one that appeals to the fuel mileage conscious who want a little extra utility yet still laced in true luxury.

The 2014 Lexus RX 450h Hybrid is a good culmination of what the RX 350 has brought to the luxury crossover utility segment while the hybrid trait adds additional efficiency without taking anything away from what the RX offers in terms of luxury, performance and utility. The 2014 Lexus RX 450h remains mostly unchanged from the previous year, with the exception of adding a rear power 115-volt power outlet and the integration of Siri Eyes Free for users of newer iPhones.


The 2014 RX 450h gets the same 3.5-liter V6 engine only it is coupled with two electric motors, one acting as the starter and generator while the other is used to propel the front wheels in the standard trim. All-wheel-drive RX 450h models get a third electric motor to drive the rear wheels. Total system output power is rated at 295 horsepower and is directed through a CVT transmission (Continuously Variable Transmission).

The performance of the 2014 Lexus RX 450h is surprisingly lively, slightly more power to work with over the gas-powered RX 350 sibling. The CVT unit, among the best in the business, adapts quickly to your throttle inputs when the engine power kicks over. The instant torque from the electric motor aids in getting the RX 450h moving from a stop. Thriving off of the Toyota Prius' hybrid synergy drive system, the RX 450h utilizes the same principles only with much more power. Sixty mph from a stop comes in at about 7.5 seconds. There hardly ever is a time that the RX 450h feels sluggish or exhibits a slow response of the CVT's ability to get the V6 engine's power band in the sweet spot for acceleration. Moreover, the RX 450h displays a bit of torque steer and front wheel spin from the surging power, mostly coming out of turns or initial starts at full throttle. Traction control steps in but never to the point of retaining power to the point that you can't get out of the way of oncoming traffic.


The sporty character the RX 450h is mostly hidden under its common looks but the luxury hybrid SUV handles decently for a crossover, ensuring confidence on the road within the confides of legal limits. The electric steering rack is surprisingly heavy, potentially to give off an air of sportiness due to the lack of road feedback transmitted to the driver.


The hybrid drive system is mostly seamless in its transitions from electric power to the gas engine. However, sitting at a stop when the engine decides to fire off to either charge the battery or heat up in cold weather, the jolt is somewhat startling and tends to shake the whole vehicle. Aside from that, the smooth transitions on the road come on at the benefit of being extremely efficient, to the point of a combined 30 mpg.

EPA fuel economy estimates for the RX 450h are 32 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. These figures can greatly fluctuate, mostly in favor of better numbers when you are a conscience driver monitoring your dashboard power gauge often. I saw figures as high as 34 mpg on the highway traveling around 55 mph and as much as 35.5 mpg in the city when taking advantage of the generated and stored power in the battery by monitoring the live battery meter.


The active power gauge is an essential part to Toyota and Lexus' hybrid vehicles where specific markings determine points where the engine will kick over versus modulating the throttle to continue battery power until it depletes enough to have the engine charge the system.

Another aspect to note about the RX hybrid is that it has a high rate of deceleration possibly due to its attempt to recover energy from the regenerative braking. Nevertheless, the aggressive deceleration takes a bit to get used to, but benefits to keep the battery charged up, which helps capture those decent fuel consumption numbers.


The luxury appointments and interior of the 2014 Lexus RX 450h hybrid are on par with its RX 350 sibling. Much of the interior remains the same, exuding the top-notch fit and finish that you expect from Lexus.

The somewhat-quirky Lexus Remote Touch system, a mouse-like device for controlling the GPS navigation system, audio system, and vehicle settings, remains to be an acquired taste for some.


Added on to my test vehicle as options are the Premium Package (leather trim interior, power moonroof, driver's seat/steering wheel memory, electrochromic heated outside mirrors and blind spot monitor), Dual-Screen rear seat entertainment package including wireless headphones and remote, Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound Audio system, GPS navigation system with voice command, backup camera, SiriusXM NavTraffic/Weather/Stocks/Sports/Fuel Prices and heated/ventilated front seats. Many of these high-sought-after options are essential to completing the RX 450h's package in being a stand-out luxury crossover utility vehicle. Otherwise, the exterior styling and persona get lost in translation with every other crossover vehicle found in American suburbs.

The starting price for the 2014 Lexus RX 450h Hybrid starts at $46,410 and ramps up to an as-tested $56,445 for my nicely-optioned test vehicle.

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Copyright: 2014 AutomotiveAddicts.com


  • Price: Base RX350 $39,660 / Base RX450h $47,335 / As-Tested RX450h $56,445
  • Engine: 3.5-liter DOHC V6 24-valve 270 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm / 248 ft-lbs. torque @ 4,700 rpm / two-motor hybrid synergy drive – Total system power: 295 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
  • Wheelbase: 107.9 in.
  • Total length: 187.8 in.
  • Total width: 74.2 in.
  • Ground Clearance: 6.9 in.
  • Total height: 66.7 in.
  • Track: f/r-64.2 in.63.8 in.
  • Fuel tank: 17.2 gallons
  • Headroom: f/r-39.1 in./37.7 in.
  • Legroom: f/r-43.1 in./36.7 in.
  • Cargo capacity: 40.0 cu.ft. all seats in place / 80.3 cu.ft. rear seats down
  • Turning circle: 38.8 ft.
  • Curb weight:  4,520 lbs.
  • 0-60 mph: 7.5 seconds
  • EPA mileage: 32 mpg/city, 28 mpg/highway

Ford Places 2015 Mustang On Top of World’s Tallest Building – Burj Khalifa in Dubai: Video

Posted: 25 Nov 2014 12:19 PM PST



Remember when Ford put the all-new 2015 Mustang on top of the Empire State building in New York as a homage to the original 1966 Mustang display? Yeah, they are doing something like that again, only this time it is in Dubai on top of the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. Here is the time lapse video of them reconstructing the Mustang on one of the observation floors. That’s nearly 2,722 feet in the air! Enjoy!

In Our Garage: 2015 Infiniti Q60S

Posted: 25 Nov 2014 12:06 PM PST


2015 Infiniti Q60S

What does rear-wheel drive, 330-horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque, a sport tuned suspension, 19-inch piano black wheels, and a notchy close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission equal?

One mean Infiniti Q60S.

2015 Infiniti Q60S

I’ve only had it for a couple hours and I already like it. Check back soon for a full review.

2015 Infiniti Q60S