2018 Prius Prime Advanced FWD Sedan

The Prius was driven to Pirate Radio for an analysis by the DJ’s, Matt “The Big Kanuna” Arguello and George “Elvis” Gray……

Blue Magnetism blue metallic – Black SofTex leatherette trim – 4 passenger – 182.9” long, same as a BMW X3 – weighs 3,375# – Carbon-Fiber-Reinforced-Polymer Hatchback design – 15”, Five spoke alloy wheels with two-tone wheel covers – Heated front seats and heated steering wheel – Backup camera, navigation, blind spot monitor, and radar cruise control XM/AM/FM JBL stereo – 10 speakers – 11.6” touchscreen  1.8 liter 4 cylinder hybrid engine with 95 horsepower (torque is 105) – ECVT automatic transmission – $33,985.00  list price        Built in Aichi, Japan – 629 miles of range, 54 mpg combined, 55 mpg city, and 53 mpg highway – 11.4 gallon tank – 25 miles range on battery power

2018 BMW 740e xDrive Sedan

The DJ’s at Pirate Radio FM 104.7 (George “Elvis” Gray on this occasion) looked over the BMW for an analysis/opinion:

All wheel drive – Megellan Gray metallic paint – Black Dakota leather trim – 5 passenger – 206.6” long, 2.5” longer than a Chevy Traverse – Weighs 4,740 lbs.  Panoramic dual (one power) moon roof(s) – 14 cubic ft. of trunk space – 0 to 60mph in 5.1 seconds – Backup camera, around view camera, navigation, auto braking, and radar cruise control – XM/AM/FM Harman/Karden stereo   10 speakers – 8” touchscreen – 2.0 liter 4 cylinder engine with 326 horsepower, counting electric motors – Eight speed automatic transmission   $99,845.00  list price – Built in Dingolfing, Germany – 340 miles of range, 27 mpg combined – 12.1 gallon tank – goes 25 miles on full electric charge





2018 KIA Rio EX Sedan

Pirate Radio Review : Matt “The Big Kahuna” Arguello and George “Elvis” Gray!

Front wheel drive – Azure Blue metallic paint – Jet black fabric trim – 5 passenger – 172” long like a Chevy Sonic – Weighs 2,750 lbs. – 13.7 cubic ft. of cargo room in trunk – Backup camera and cruise control – XM/AM/FM KIA stereo – 5 speakers – 7” touchscreen – 1.6 liter 4 cylinder engine with 130 horsepower – Six speed automatic transmission – 15”  spoke alloy wheels  185/65HR15 Bridgestone all season radials – $19,425.00  list price        Built in Pesqueria, NL, Mexico – 380 miles of range, 32 mpg combined, 28 mpg city, and 32 mpg highway – 11.9 gallon tank


2018 BMW M550i xDrive Sedan

Listen in while George Gray and I discuss the salient aspects of this luxury/performance BMW on Pirate Radio 104.7FM……

All wheel drive – Mediterranean Blue metallic paint – Cognac Dakota leather trim – 5 passenger – 195” long like a Toyota Avalon or a GMC Acadia – Heated and cooled front & rear bucket seats – weighs 4,372 lbs. – Power sunroof – Backup camera, forward collision mitigation, lane departure warning, auto high beam, navigation and radar cruise control – XM/AM/FM Harman Kardon stereo w/16 speakers  8.8” touchscreen – 4.4 liter V-8 Twin Turbo engine with 456 horsepower, torque is 480 – 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds – Eight speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters – 19”  alloy wheels – 245/40R19 (275/40R19 rear) run-flat radials – $88,985.00  list price – Built in Dingolfing, Germany – 450 miles of range, 19 mpg combined, 16 mpg city, and 25 mpg highway – 18 gallon tank

Reviewers Commentary: “This BMW is a powerhouse – loved the sound of the engine and the ride.  Would rather have a conventional shifter for the transmission.  Rock crusher stereo.”

2017 Mazda 6 Grand Touring FWD Sedan

The Mazda sedan was driven to Pirate Radio to be shown to Matt “The Big Kahuna” Arguello and George “Elvis” Gray.  Pirate Radio is 104.7 on the FM dial:

Front Wheel Drive – Soul Red metallic paint – Parchment Nappa leather interior – 7” touchscreen with navigation – 5 passenger – 192” long like a Chevy Malibu or Ford Fusion – Heated front and rear bucket seats – Weighs 3,250 lbs. – Sunroof, radar cruise control and rear view camera – XM radio and  premium Bose 11 speaker stereo – 2.5 liter 4 cylinder with 184 horsepower   Zero to 60 in 7.7 seconds – 6  Speed Direct Shift Automatic transmission with paddles – 19”  machined-finish aluminum alloy wheels/all-season radials   $34,695.00  list price – 30 MPG combined mpg, 27 city and 35 highway     16.4 gallon tank – Built in Hofu, Japan

2018 Toyota Camry XSE 4-Door FWD Sedan

The Camry was driven to Pirate Radio (KELS 104.7) for an analysis by the DJ’s, George Gray and Matt Arguello.  Listen:

Front Wheel Drive – Ruby Flare pearl metallic paint – Black leather interior  8” touchscreen with navigation – 5 passenger – 192” long like a Chevy Malibu or Ford Fusion – Heated front bucket seats – Weighs 3,395 lbs. – Sunroof and bird’s eye view camera/display – XM radio and  premium JBL 9 speaker stereo  3.5 liter V-6 with 301 horsepower – torque is 267 lb.ft. – Zero to 60 in 5.7 seconds – 8 – Speed Direct Shift Automatic transmission – 19”  black machined-finish aluminum alloy  wheels/all-season radials – $38,220.00  list price – 26 MPG combined mpg, 22 city and 32 highway – 16 gallon tank – Built in Georgetown, Kentucky

2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI SE Hatchback

The VW Golf GTI was driven to Pirate Radio for an analysis by the DJ’s, Matt “Big Kahuna” Arguello and George “Elvis” Gray.  Listen in:

Front Wheel Drive – Night blue metallic paint – Black leather interior – 6.5” touchscreen – 5 passenger – 168” long like a Chevy Trax – Heated front bucket seats – Weighs 3,086 lbs. – Panoramic sunroof and illuminated door sills and door panels – XM radio and  premium Fender 8 speaker stereo – 1.8 liter Turbo 4 with 220 horsepower – torque is 258 lb.ft. – Zero to 60 in 5.7 seconds  6  Speed DSG automatic transmission – 18”  Austin aluminum alloy wheels and all-season radials – $31,165.00  list price – 27 MPG combined mpg, 24 city and 32 highway – 13.2 gallon tank – Built in Puebla, Mexico

2017 Lexus RC350 AWD F Sport 2-Door

Recently I drove over to Pirate Radio with my latest test car, the 2017 Lexus RC-350 F Sport, which was painted Caviar (black) and featured a black leather interior.  Pirate Radio is FM 104.7 in Greeley, and the car was there to be analyzed by the DJ’s, George Gray and Matt Arguello.

Their impression of the Lexus was positive, and if they had driven it they would have really gotten excited.

I took care of the driving of the RC-350 for a week and can report that the Lexus is a solid, smooth performer with enough horsepower to accelerate to 60 mph in under 6 seconds.  A couple of years ago I drove the Lexus RC-F, which is identical except for the engine, and of course it was excellent, as well.  The power in the RC-F was a V-8, so performance was more exhilarating.

What I will say about the RC-350, the subject of this evaluation, is that with the V-6 in it the performance was very satisfying, in somewhat of a surprise.  I expected it to pale in comparison (to the V-8), and that was not the case.  In it (the RC-350) is a 3.5 liter, 306 horsepower unit with 277 lb. ft. of torque.  The ultra-smooth power plant features 24 valves, dual overhead cams, direct/port injection, and variable valve timing.  The transmission is an six-speed automatic with floor shift and paddles on the steering column.  Top speed of this rear-wheel drive car is reportedly 155 mph.  As for fuel economy, the automobile rates 26 mpg highway, 19 mpg city, and a combined figure of 21 mpg.  The tank holds 17.4 gallons.

Inside the four-passenger coupe is leather seating for four adults.  It was upholstered in an understated black material with intricate stitching, and black accents were employed successfully throughout the cabin.  The F Sport has badging on the steering wheel (on fenders, as well) and alloy foot pedals are on hand.  Four driving modes are accessible when operating the RC, and they are normal, eco, sport, and sport+.  When in sport+, the dash output changes to red accents and  a large tachometer/digital speedometer.  The ride is great and visibility is about as good as can be expected considering the sporty performance and design.

Lexus has knocked it out of the park with regards to styling of the RC-350, which in the case of my test car featured an Caviar black metallic paint job.  Fifteen-spoke two-toned 19″ alloy wheels were fitted with 235/40R19 (265/35R19 on the rear axle) radials.  When I’m testing a vehicle with different size tires on the front and the rear, I know I have my hands on a hot rod.  The large black “spindle” grill is out front, a spoiler is integrated into the trunk (10.4 cubic ft.), and stainless exhaust finishers are under the rear fascia.

M.S.R.P. of the Lexus RC-350 F Sport is $57,198.00, including a base price of $45,175.00, fog lights ($410.00), F Sport package ($3,700.00), navigation/audio ($2,550.00), intuitive park assist (500.00), moonroof ($1,100.00), rear spoiler ($399.00), protective mats ($280.00), radar cruise control ($500.00), and triple beam LED headlamps ($1,160.00).   Freight was $975.00.

The RC-350 is a surprising value, as performance coupes go, and with its stellar styling and interior appointments, I would recommend it to a prospect in the sector.

Caviar metallic clear coat paint – Heated black leather buckets with black accents – seats 4 – 8.4” touchscreen with navigation – Weighs 3,900 lbs. – 185” long – 3.5 liter V-6 306 horsepower five drive modes – 235/40r19 all season Michelin tires with low gloss F-Sport alloy wheels – Mark Levinson 835 watt premium 17 speaker stereo – Rear spoiler, 10.4 cubic ft. trunk, and moon roof – Six speed Automatic transmission and all-wheel drive – Backup camera, radar cruise control, and blind spot warning – $57,198.00 Window Sticker – 26 MPG on the highway – 21 MPG combined rating – 19 MPG city.  17.4 gallon tank – premium fuel – Made in Tahara, Aichi perfecture, Japan


2017 Lexus IS-350 AWD F Sport Sedan

The Lexus IS was driven to Pirate Radio where George “Elvis” Gray helped analyze the luxury sedan.  Listen in:

Atomic Silver metallic / Black interior – Leather heated/power/ventilated front buckets and heated steering wheel – 10.25” touchscreen, backup camera/navigation Power moonroof  and premium Mark Levinson 15-speaker sound system – 308 horsepower 3.5 liter turbo V-6 / 277 lb. ft. torque – 8 Speed automatic transmission, paddle shifters, and all-wheel drive – F Sport high performance package – Lane departure and blind spot warning plus radar cruise –  $51,515.00            EPA rating is 19 MPG city , 21 MPG combined rating and 26 MPG highway (17.4 gallon tank) 3,583 lbs. – 184” long, 110” wheelbase 56” height, 71” wide

Built in Tahara, Aichi, Japan

2017 Subaru BRZ Limited

Subaru and Toyota joined forces on a joint effort to build a rear-wheel-drive sports coupe during the previous decade, and in 2012  Subaru’s version hit the showrooms as a 2013 model and was named the BRZ.  Subaru handled the lion’s share of engineering of the sports car and installed their vaunted “boxer” engine in the vehicle.  The BRZ moniker denotes the boxer engine, rear-wheel-drive, and Zenith.  Zenith stands not for an old television, but for “above”.

I found a 2017 BRZ Limited in my driveway for testing recently, with keys slipped through the mail slot in my home.  I didn’t have to insert the keys in the BRZ because the Subaru has “keyless access and start”, allowing you to enter and drive with the keys in your pocket.  This BRZ was equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission, and I was able to handle the transmission rather easily.

The BRZ is powered by a 2.0 liter, four cylinder boxer aluminum engine that provides 205 horsepower and 156 lb.-ft. of torque.  The punch-counterpunch action of the boxer pistons in the Subaru cancel each other out and provide a smooth delivery of power.  Also, the horizontally opposed engine results in a lower center of gravity in the vehicle (18”), aiding the handling and cornering characteristics.  Porsche and Subaru are pretty much it when it comes to boxer automobile engines, and the design is found in some BMW and Honda motorcycles.  The motor was patented by Germany’s Karl Benz in 1896.  Fuel economy ratings on the BRZ are 21-city, 29-highway, the car burns premium unleaded gasoline, and the tank holds 13.2 gallons.

I took a spin over to Loveland in the BRZ and took a detour north on the “Jackrabbit Trail” for some winding road driving.  I’ve found that recently most folks around Greeley don’t use that name for Highway 257, but when I arrived in this area in 1979, that was what the road was called.  I think it came from an early name for the Mad Russian over near Milliken.

On the drive the BRZ exhibited its nature as a true sports car with 4-wheel independent suspension, and 4-wheel disc (11.5”) brakes.  Reportedly the 2,800 lb. car travels from zero to 60 in 6.4 seconds.   Inside, the Limited has black leather seating trim with Alcantara (suede-like) inserts to keep the occupants from sliding around, and Subaru has installed a 6.2” touch-screen navigation/infotainment system in the BRZ.  Also on hand are dual-zone air conditioning, Bluetooth capability, satellite radio, and USB/Ipod connection.

Ruth and I took the BRZ to the factory outlet stores and I noticed that the shoppers  were taking a good look at the Blue Pearl Metallic BRZ in the parking lot, admiring the ten-spoke dark gray alloy wheels with 215/45R17 Michelin Primacy HP summer radials, dual exhaust tips, and trunk spoiler (it’s atop a 7 cubic ft. compartment).

M.S.R.P. for the Subaru was based at $27,645.00.  Freight and a performance package brought the total to $29,660.00.  Shoppers looking for an under-$30,000,  2 + 2 sports car with terrific styling and performance would be well-advised to look at the 2017 Subaru BRZ.