Infinity M Hybrid

Infinity M Hybrid

Infinity M Hybrid


I’m a music fan. I prefer rock and roll. I actually like all types of music but, rock is by far my favorite. And every decade or so a song comes out that both blazes new territory and also stands the test of time. Case and point, Prodigy’s “Breathe” impressed me the first time I heard it and continues to captivate me to this day.

So, with all of the manufacturers trying to master this new “hybrid” idea, Infinity has gotten my attention.
The Infinity M Hybrid is a flawless execution of a platform that gives me real hope for the future of Hybrids. To be fair all of the other manufacturers are also making great headway, but, the way Nissan strung this car together is clearly a huge leap forward.

First of all, let me tell you this car is more luxurious than a week on your own island. The sound deafening allows you to motor about town and on the highway in complete solace. The Bose system allows you to enjoy Prodigy or the Russian Easter Overture. How often do you see those two in the same sentence? The front seats are climate controlled and the steering wheel is heated. The Japanese Ash wood trim is as beautiful as Brooklyn Decker on a Maui beach. Offering a finish that looks weathered in from day one. When I sat in the car my first thought was it looked like a Jag. That’s not bad company when it comes to styling.

Although the interior is sublime the real star of this show is the power-train. Starting with the 3.5 liter 24 valveV-6, aluminum alloy block and heads with Low-friction coated pistons that offers 330HP on its own, then adding an additional battery to bring the total horsepower to 360 the Infinity M will get to 60MPH in less than six seconds. The power transfer from motor to electric is seamless. Actually, it’s better than that. The only way to tell which motor is driving the car is to keep your eye on the tach.

Most of the time while driving in town I was running electric. On a trip to Richardson to see my little brother graduate form UTD I was able to complete the trip with less than a quarter tank of gas. At one time the car switched to electric on the highway.

The fuel economy is said to be 18/25 but, I did much better. The trick is to stay in economy mode. You hear that Washington? The trick is to stay in economy mode but, I digress.

The trick to getting all of us sold on hybrids is cars like the Infinity M Hybrid. If the manufacturers will just understand that the buyers want it all than there should be no problem. The joy of the M Hybrid is the “hybrid” is not the focus. It’s just an amazing car that is quiet, fast and sips fuel like a four-banger. There, that’s all we want.

Congratulations Infinity. Even though the price tag of $53,700 eliminates buyers like my newly degreed brother there are many others who should put this car on their short list.

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2012 Cadillac CTS-v

2012 Cadillac CTS-v

2012 Cadillac CTS-v


To whom much is given much is expected. Back a few years ago we gave the General as much as we could. That led to some lofty expectations for most of us. Having tested most of their product line since then I would say they are well on their way to fulfilling those expectations. From fuel sipping models like the Cruze, to big and bad ZL1’s and CTS-V’s. Although I appreciate the former, I’m in love with the latter.
The 2012 Cadillac CTS-V is vicious! When it was delivered all auto controls were in place. Traction control, check, Torque management, on. I pulled away from the office like 90 percent of the tenants in our building, driving a four door sedan. I took the windy road home and maybe even smiled a little.
I woke up the next morning, turned off the traction control and found Lithium on Satellite Radio. I took the same windy road back to work and when I arrived I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. The car I had yesterday had disappeared. In its place was a fire breathing, ill tempered wannabe nascar. I loved it.
The 2012 CTS-v is the perfect gentlemen’s car. Impress your clients with the luxury during the day and beat it hard on the way home or, uh…at the track. Unlike the CTS-v coupe which I did not like nearly as much as the sedan, the four door version allows room for comfort, room to be a Cadillac. I mean, if you buy a Cadillac you should have ample space and trust me you’ll never run out of power. With almost cartoonish horse power and torque numbers 556/551 the CTS-v is more fun than a weekend with Steve-O.
All power numbers aside the CTS-v is absolutely balanced and stable. For a car as heavy as the CTS-v you would expect a mushy driving experience. I assure you the opposite is true. With the Dual-Mode Magnetic Ride Control, the Chris Farley of cars rips the road up.
My favorite feature has to be the Recaro driving seats. Offering more adjustments than John Travolta’s Masseuse, the comfort is unmatched. As long as you’re comfortable enjoy your tunes on the fully integrated Bluetooth system.
The price range from a low of $64,000.00 to a still reasonable $73,000.00 fully loaded. And best of all, it’s a Cadillac.

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2012 Chevrolet Volt

2012 Chevrolet Volt

2012 Chevrolet Volt

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I’m ready to concede that now is the time for Hybrids to be embraced and relied upon for mundane transportation. After all, what kind of excitement can you really get from city traffic? Sure it’s fun to weave in and out of traffic but, I now ask myself at what cost? Now is my time to grow up and realize it’s not all about my entertainment.

If you can drive to and from work and the store on battery power, why not do it? If natural gas is the way to go, why not do it? If extremely low performing, mileage rich internal combustion motors get you where you need to go, just slower, why not do it? What does it matter if one of our cars in the driveway is no fun to drive? With all of the automotive performance options available to us in 2012 surely we can sacrifice one joyous hour or two a day to rid ourselves of the big black monster.

The first time I reviewed the Volt I blasted it. This time I get the Volt just as the news is reporting fires occurring in recently crashed vehicles. Big deal. These fires occurred days after extensive damage, long after the occupants would be safely recovering at home or the hospital. The first Volt fire was over two weeks after the crash test.

2012 Volt Interior

2012 Volt Interior

Look, there will be hurdles but, overall we are right on schedule. When you drive the Volt you don’t feel like you’re giving up anything, including acceleration. I actually enjoyed my time in the 2012 Chevrolet Volt so much I would look at buying one down the road. There is something cool about driving a whisper quiet car. I felt more peaceful, more in tune with the world around me. It’s strange to think about a quiet world, but I can hope. What will stand out to you more than anything when you pilot the Volt is peaceful motoring. I don’t know about you, but the more quiet I can have in my life the better.

I hear a ton of objections to the Volt. The biggest is the price, $39,145.00 for the base model and $45,170.00 for the Volt I tested. The extra six grand gets you the same set of GM features that you will find on just about any GM model. Here’s the deal though, the new Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible cost $42,000.00 and change. Why can’t we put the same emphasis on mileage performance as we do on straight line acceleration? I mean really, this is the age of The Geek Squad! Let’s just embrace our inner nerd.

I know you’ll never take my word for it. Go drive one for yourself. Sales are not exactly robust for the Volt but, I see this car as a gateway car, allowing us to envision what the future could hold.
The hardest thing is opening your motor-head mind.

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2012 Ram Tradesman

2012 Ram Tradesman

2012 Ram Tradesman


If you happen to have read my last review or heard it on the show, you know I was railing on the wussification of the American car buyer. I was testing the loaded out Nissan Armada and the amenities threw me for a loop. The interesting thing about that to me was the extremely harsh reaction I received from everyone. Men, women, and kids alike it seems are destined to enjoy the easy life of power doors, seats, and navigation.

Ok, I get it. I just don’t agree. Cars today have more options than one of Donald Trump’s grand kids. Amazingly the car gods sent me the automobile to prove my point.

The all new Ram Tradesman came with zero power options. Your hear that? No power windows, and not even power locks are included in the great package for the working man or woman.

Start with a beefy 5.7 liter Hemi that produces almost 400HP and over 400 lbft of torque. Continue with a very cool bed storage system that has more ability to change on the fly than either of our current political parties. There are storage boxes on the outside of the bed that are lighted and could comfortably fit tools, guns, fishing gear, whatever you want. Also the bed is designed to adjust to secure any type of load you may be carrying.

The cab of the 2012 Ram Tradesman is a single cab. When was the last time you rode in a single cab pickup? Let me tell you it’s a lot different from an extended or crew cab. First of all, there is obviously half the room, secondly, there are limited storage compartments. In fact the only one I found doubled as the middle of a bench seat. The bench seat was cool. Wanted to take the wife on a ride and stick her in the middle just for the fun of it. Interestingly enough she wasn’t interested. It turns out women are less attracted to work trucks than fish are to eagles.

Inside the singe cab you find zero extra knobs to twist and break. No seven-inch video screen to distract you and last of all, no carpet. Yes no carpet. Seems dirty boots don’t agree with the frail nature of carpet.
Here’s the cool part. The truck was easy to drive, quick and comfortable despite lacking all of the modern amenities. I can’t wait to show the truck to my stepfather this week. He is the man who said sunroofs don’t belong in trucks. If he gives his stamp of approval for the Ram Tradesman I say job well done

The mileage, as you would expect is not the greatest. Gearing and grunt usually don’t help you pass gas stations. Ha, I just said “pass gas”. Sorry, I digress.

If it’s a work truck you need you should visit your local Dodge house and have a look. Just tell them Lonnie said, “Show me the man truck”.

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Nissan Armada Platinum

2012 Nissan Armada Platinum

2012 Nissan Armada Platinum

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In the interest of comparison, the Nissan Leaf is to the Nissan Armada what I am to William F Buckley Jr.
You’re welcome to do the math on that one if you want but, I could just save you the time and tell you there is a huge difference.

What the Nissan Armada drives home to me is that somewhere there has to be a family not hampered by the crazy spikes in gasoline prices. My co-host on The Car Show is always quick to point out that, if you can afford it and want it, there should be a product for it. From a capitalist approach I understand that argument but, do we really need a vehicle intended to move people getting 12 mpg city, in 2012.

The Nissan Frontier offers 317 horsepower which is needed due to the weight of the Armada. Actually, a little more would be great. At 12/18 the Armada falls in line with most large SUV’s. That’s good news for Nissan but, is it good enough for us.

I have a twenty-one year old brother who is in many ways indicative of the Gen-Y crowd. Talks a lot of green but drives a Ford Crown Vic. The truth is he could care less about cars. He’s busy laying the ground work for a successful life. So I’ll give him a pass. But, what is interesting to me is how much Gen-Y talks about being green when the Hippies of the 60’s and 70”s seemed far more concerned with the fragile nature of our planet.

Obviously I won’t save the world here. My one contribution may be the untimely use of pop culture metaphors.
The reason I bring this up is because I am very impressed with the Nissan Armada. With the one exception of needing arms with more ability to stretch than Lindsey Lohan’s attorney to turn the station on the radio, I enjoy every minute behind the wheel.

The Armada is extremely comfortable offering leather seating and more eight inch plasma screens than a Starbucks at six in the morning. The Bose sound system is sublime and 8-way adjustable driver’s seat leaves you feeling in command of your ship. The Armada has dual zone Automatic A/C with rear A/C controls so your squids being chauffeured about town can keep themselves cool while you burn more fuel than 50 rednecks at a bond fire.

Another thing about the Armada is its massive list of standard features. On my test car the only options were floor and cargo mats and a rear cargo net totaling $475.00. With a thousand dollar destination charge it brings the cost of acquiring an Armada Platinum $55,400.00.

On the show David and I constantly debate the people mover concept. His view, and I concede he is right, is that if you have many people to move it is far cheaper to move them in one gas guzzler than three cars that get 25mpg. My argument is what happens when the massive ship in not full of passengers.
I guess if Yachts can have dingys then you should have a Nissan Leaf in your driveway next to your Armada. There you’re welcome Nissan

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2012 Buick Regal GS Turbo

2012 Buick Regal GS Turbo

2012 Buick Regal GS Turbo

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The 2012 Buick Regal GS Turbo is tight. Its shifts are tight and it’s driver’s seat even tighter. If your spouse is urging you to write into The Biggest Loser this might not be the ride for you. The Buick Regal GS has seats designed to hold you in place while it lays down .92 g’s on the skid pad. To do this it feels as if Buick wanted you to be integrated into the seat, not simply sitting on it.

Tight would also be an apt description of the GS’s handling. It is without a doubt the stiffest Buick ever produced ending the long heritage of straight-line Buicks of the past.

The Buick Regal GS has a 2.0 liter turbo inline-four making 270HP and almost three hundred lb-ft of torque. Given the power of the GS’s power-plant it has little torque steer.

It took a few days to really understand the car. When it first arrived the interior grabbed my attention. I thought it was similar to the old Pontiac G8. Sort of like a four-door Corvette. That has to be the goal of this Sport sedan.

I have to admit the exterior design looks like many other cars to me. However, a rear quarter view is the Buick’s best profile.

Driving the Buick is the best part. It is both nimble and aware. The GS came with a six-speed gearbox that offers a very soft clutch and smooth operation. I have to wonder what a tuner could do with the GS. A little more boost…who knows.

Bottom line is this. America is putting out some of the best cars in the world right now. That’s right I said it, and the 2012 Buick GS is a great example of what’s to come. Less juice and more boost.

The cost of a new Regal GS? Well, it starts at $34,000.00 and can kiss forty grand loaded.
Again, as the old saying goes, It’s what’s inside that counts, unless you’re Dick Cheney.

I’m Lonnie Johnson and this is this week’s review sponsored by Stewart’s Donnybrook Automotive. Stop by and see Gary today. I’m very proud to have them sponsor these reviews and hope you will give the I m a chance to earn your business. At the corner of Donnybrook and Troup Stewart’s Donnybrook Automotive offers what I think is the last full service station on the planet. You won’t find a more enhanced, enjoyable atmosphere anywhere in Tyler.

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2012 Subaru Legacy 2.5i

2012-Subaru-Legacy-2.5i-Sedan

2012-Subaru-Legacy-2.5i-Sedan

As I look through my older post I cannot find one bad review of a Subaru. I’m not saying this will be the one. The point is I have great respect for the “other” boxer motor cars.
I’ve got too many friends who live and die by the next WRX, who equate Subaru more with boost and all-wheel drive than reliability. I get it; the Subaru brand to me has always stood for Rally.
Imagine my surprise when the 2012 Subaru Legacy 2.5i was delivered. The shell made it, and it looked great but, they forgot the power. Yes, the all-new Legacy looks great but the 2.5 four-banger offers up only 175 HP, only enough to get the Legacy from zero to sixty in 9 seconds. By today’s standards that’s slower than one of Madonna’s high Kicks. By the way Madonna, Skeletor called he wants his body back. Wow, one day you’re like a virgin the next you’re like a fossil.
The interior of the 2012 Subaru Legacy is surprisingly supple. With wood grained accents and leather throughout you can’t help but enjoy your time in the cockpit. The instrument cluster is very sporty with black face gauges and white highlights that make keeping track of your speed and fuel a breeze.
I also liked the way the driver fits in the car. The driver’s seat offers a full range of bolster and the fact that the seats are heated makes them just that much better. There is one question I have and it’s for all automakers. Why not get Sirius and XM? They are a combined entity now. Why should I not be able to enjoy Howard if I have Satellite?
Now back to the driving experience. The 2.5H four’s miniscule power output is only farther diminished by the highly touted CVT transmission. This is another baffling thing to me. I like to feel a car change gears. It’s just more of that seat of the pants feel I use when I’m driving. If you want flawless, emotionless, mind numbing boredom out of a car put a CVT transmission in it.
Subaru, however, will also forever be known as one of the most reliable automotive brands. This should give you comfort, as now anything more than an econo-box will run you thirty large. For the record the Subaru Legacy offers extremely good reliability.
If it were me making the purchase I would recommend the four-cylinder turbo. That will deliver almost another hundred horsepower. There is always the 3.6 liter six that is naturally aspirated as a second choice.
Overall, I would say go visit your Subaru dealer and check out the Legacy if you’re in the market for a mid size sedan. They look great, run forever, and unlike the material girl age gracefully.
I’m Lonnie Johnson and this is this week’s review sponsored by Stewart’s Donnybrook Automotive. Stop by and see Gary today. I’m very proud to have them sponsor these reviews and hope you will give the I m a chance to earn your business. At the corner of Donnybrook and Troup Stewart’s Donnybrook Automotive offers what I think is the last full service station on the planet. You won’t find a more enhanced, enjoyable atmosphere anywhere in Tyler.

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