Archive for August, 2014

Brad’s Visit & “Ignition” Phoenix Car Show

Posted in Uncategorized on August 31, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  531,491


Odometer (NSX):


Odometer (ILX):  94,381



For once, I let someone else do all the “heavy” driving for me this weekend!  Anyone who’s followed D25 long enough knows that in most cases, a long holiday weekend means some kind of crazy cross-country drive.  This time, I’m pleased to report that the cars and I are resting up and enjoying some much-needed downtime.  Brad, though — he’s a man on a mission.  Brad is a Drive to Five reader from Chicago, Illinois who got a wild hair last week and decided to hit the open road in his 2004 Honda Accord coupe and head for the southwest.

On Friday evening, I received a text message from Brad about how he’d just passed a “big crack in the ground,” accompanied by a picture of the Grand Canyon.  Holy smokes – this guy had covered some serious ground in just a matter of a few days!  Following my recommendations, he’d already conquered Colorado’s Mount Evans as well as the Million Dollar Highway.  And he was heading straight for Phoenix!

Confident that his Honda’s A/C had never had to work quite as hard as it was on Saturday, Brad arrived safely and soundly to central Phoenix.  His timing couldn’t have been better:  Some friends and I were attending a car show called “Ignition,” held at the historic 1965 Veterans Memorial Coliseum on 17th Avenue & McDowell Road.


Brad’s Graphite Pearl 2004 Accord EX coupe is a true one-owner and a low-miler.  Brad has gone to great lengths to keep his Accord in top shape both mechanically and cosmetically, though the Illinois winters at times make that a challenge.  He reported getting the car’s 10-year best-ever mileage of about 38 miles per gallon in the hills of Colorado on this very trip.  This came as a surprise, since he’d been so aggressive with the throttle at times.  The Accord’s 16-valve 2.4 liter iVTEC 4 cylinder motor generates 160 horsepower, and Brad said he definitely gave each one of those horses a workout on the way to the top of 14,000-foot-tall Mount Evans.



Just 74,000 miles on the Accord!


I had the chance to ride along with Brad for a few miles, and the car — as well as Brad’s 5-speed shifting skills — were as smooth as could be.  His visit was short, but fortunately he was able to join for lunch and meet a few of my friends.  Brad’s now well on his way back to Chicagoland, having made it all the way to Albuquerque, New Mexico by later in the evening.  Safe travels, Brad, and thanks for making a pit stop in my neighborhood!

The Ignition car show drew a wide variety of vehicles (and owners) but I’ll highlight just a few things.


The Coliseum venue itself has an interesting story.  Considered architecturally state-of-the-art when it was built in the mid-1960’s, the building today is a little run-down.  It can still accommodate nearly 15,000 people and continues to host the Arizona State Fair each October, but most larger events have since shifted to other arenas in the downtown Phoenix area.  The Coliseum has had its share of highlights over the years, though, including a sold-out concert by Elvis Presley in 1970.  The Phoenix Suns basketball team played there from 1968 through 1992. 



I entered my NSX in the show, and it ended up parked next to my friend Matt’s Infiniti Q50 and a Tesla Model S.


Loved this four-door hardtop Pontiac Bonneville.


This 1948 Chrysler belongs to Roger, and it’s one of 30 (yes, THIRTY) Chrysler vehicles in his collection.  I asked him if he’d buy anything that wasn’t a Chrysler.  His response was “Mopar or No Car.”  I like that brand loyalty!


Believe it or not, that little red car is a vintage Subaru 360.  Its curb weight is only 1,000 pounds.


I enjoyed all the original paperwork & window sticker on this one-owner, 55,000-mile, 1986 Oldsmobile 442.


Lunch-bound in the ILX:  Jeremy, Brad, Tyson


Jeremy, by the way, is a proud owner of a new (to him) 2004 Acura TL 6-speed with the full A-Spec underbody kit.


I was feeling artsy and the lighting was right, so I grabbed a couple pictures of the 1992 NSX on the way out of the Coliseum.



Enjoy the rest of the holiday weekend!

Motor City Masters: Hollywood, CA TV Show Finale in the ILX

Posted in California, ILX, Road Trip on August 28, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  94,087


Trip Distance: 780 Miles


What started as the location of a single adobe hut in 1853 has grown to become one of most recognized and prominent places in the world because of its ties to the motion picture industry.  Its name was coined by a man named H.J. Whitley who bought a 500-acre range there in February 1887 and filed the deed with the Los Angeles County Recorder’s Office with the name specified.  Hollywood merged with the City of Los Angeles in 1910 and has since grown to become one of the most densely populated neighborhoods in LA.  As of the 2008 census, it was home to over 22,000 people per square mile!  Let’s go there.

Motor City Masters is a Hollywood-based reality TV show centered around automotive design.  Automotive spy photographer Brenda Priddy invited me to accompany her to an exclusive Hollywood party in connection with a viewing of the show’s final episode.  The concept of MCM is pretty simple:  What started as a group of 10 automotive designers was whittled down via elimination in various design events to just two finalists:  Bryan Thompson and Camilo Pardo, pictured below.  The winner at the end of the series would receive $100,000 cash and a 2014 Chevy Camaro Z28.


I took a half day off work on Tuesday so that I’d be able to cruise out to southern California for the occasion.  The drive from the Phoenix area to Hollywood takes about 6 hours and is spent almost entirely on Interstate 10.  Miraculously, I hit zero traffic delays until just 4 miles before my scheduled exit on Highway 101.  Making my way northbound on Gower Street, the white HOLLYWOOD sign that I’ve seen so many times before on movies and in TV was there ahead of me in the distance, plain as day.   The challenge was getting anywhere near it!  Look at these loop-de-loop residential roads!


Talk about a maze.  Plus, what the map there doesn’t convey is that the roads in most cases are barely wide enough to fit a single car through, and the turns are tight with blind corners.  Topping that off, the grades are steep.  My Garmin Nuvi GPS unit had to recalculate a couple of times before I found the party house location.

Along the way, though, I did happen to cross right through Lake Hollywood Park which had a perfect viewpoint of the Hollywood sign.  Did you know that the letters in the Hollywood sign are each 45 feet tall?  That’s four stories!  The sign was originally constructed in 1923 and it said “HOLLYWOODLAND” to advertise a new housing development.  In 1949, the “Land” part was dropped, and by 1970 the sign had deteriorated badly.  It was restored in 1979 to its current condition.


The party I attended was hosted by a man named Axel who has a beautiful glass-walled, modern home overlooking the city with a pool in the backyard.  Weather was perfect and the amenities were top notch.  Best of all, I got to meet a couple of the show’s cast members.  We watched the final Motor City Masters episode, but were disappointed to learn that “our” pick – Bryan – ended up in 2nd place.  In the end, though, he still came out ahead.  Bryan had struck a dealer with Camilo earlier in the show:  Whoever won first place would get the cash, while the second place winner would get the car.  Bryan plans on selling the Camaro and allocating the funds to a scholarship fund for design students.  Pretty cool of him!


I eventually broke away from the party in anticipation of a long night’s drive ahead.  Once I got past the Palm Springs area, I felt like I was all alone with the truckers out on I-10 in the desert.  I passed dozens of them.  The interstate was smooth sailing, though.  Even though it’s taxing at times, I like to drive at night just because it’s cooler out and there’s less traffic to deal with. Of the 15,605 songs on my 80-gig iPod Classic, this one randomly came on at 1:53 in the morning.  Fitting.


Give it a listen.  I rolled into my driveway around 2:45 in the morning, tired from a long day but feeling like it was all worth it!  Here are the rest of my pics.  Enjoy, and thanks for coming along!

Approaching the Hollywood sign


Making my way up the steep, curvy neighborhood roads


Hollywood Lake Park


More views from the park


Heavy tourist activity around here


Looking to the southeast


Arriving at Axel’s place for the party


Brenda, who’d invited me to the party


You can see the Hollywood sign from the house


Acura-only parking!  My friend Scott parked behind me in his RDX, and my friend Chris parked behind him in a TSX.


Watching the show.


Another angle


Kevin and Bryan, both cast members from the show (goofing off!)



Utah State Highway 153: Beaver Canyon Scenic Byway in the ILX

Posted in ILX, Road Trip, Utah on August 25, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  531,490


Odometer (ILX):  93,204


Trip Distance:  1,061 Miles



Welcome aboard for an AZ-NV-UT-NV-AZ weekend!  The route between Phoenix, Arizona and St. George, Utah is a long-time favorite of mine.  An old friend of mine got hitched on Saturday evening, so I made the trek to my old stomping grounds to participate in the festivities and to reconnect with a few family members.


While waiting for a gas pump to continue filling my 13-gallon tank with 91 octane, I was rooting around in the center console for my key so I could lock the car and go inside the convenience store for a drink.  A voice from behind me said, “Excuse me sir…” I was a little startled and looked up to see it was a friend from my hometown, Danny! Here I was, 200 miles from home, and he was also 200 miles from home – randomly meeting up at a Mobil gas station in small town Kingman, Arizona. It’s a really small world indeed.


Saturday evening’s wedding was held in Pine Valley Utah.  I’d been there before around Christmas 2012.  The drive from St. George to Pine Valley on State Route 18 took about 40 minutes. The elevation gain lends itself to a change in landscape, as the vivid red sandstone rock formations transition to pine trees and greener surroundings. Pine Valley’s afternoon weather was absolutely perfect for the wedding festivities, so it was appropriate that the ceremony was held outside on the lawn of the bright white, historic 1868 chapel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


I paid a quick visit to my brother Payton who’s knee-deep in a car “build” that’s been underway for over a year now. He’s converting his blue Lexus IS300 to a stick shift and performing all sorts of drivetrain upgrades in the process.

On Sunday morning, I picked up a special copilot for the day’s drive, Grandma McGregor.  She’d already packed us up a couple coolers full of picnic lunch supplies and food, so we threw those in the back seat and headed out northbound on Interstate 15 toward Beaver.  The 100-mile drive went quickly thanks to the posted 80 mph speed limits that took effect a couple of years ago.  Upon arrival in Beaver, we met up with my mom, stepdad, sister-in-law, niece, and nephew who’d arrived in a separate vehicle (mom’s 2003 Lexus GS430).


Beaver’s State Route 153 dates back to 1945.   It’s 40 miles long, but the 13 easternmost miles to the city of Junction, Utah are unpaved.  The 27 miles that are paved are a glorious place to take a nice-handling sports sedan like the ILX.  Grandma and I started our drive from Beaver and headed for the hills.


Making our way  eastbound, Highway 153 enters the Fishlake National Forest as it climbs into the Tushar Mountains.   The road first winds along the Beaver River at the base of the canyon, then begins a sharp ascent to its 9,200 foot elevation at its highest point on the paved portion.  The grades reach up to 9-10% and it’s very common for vehicles to overheat going uphill or to lose braking control going downhill.  Extreme drop-offs have taken many victims over the years – including some accidents that we’ve witnessed firsthand.


We made it to our destination at the top of the hill, near Eagle Point ski area.  My brother has a cabin under construction there that we took a look at.  Afterward, we traversed a one-lane dirt road deep into the woods and paid our respects to the location where the cremated remains of some of our dear family members were buried.  The ILX got a little muddy, but it was worth it.


The descent on Highway 153 went quickly.  Knowing that I had a full day’s drive still ahead of me (8 more hours) in getting back to the Phoenix area, I turned over the reins to my stepdad, Todd, who drove the ILX the 100 miles from Beaver to St. George.

By 9:30 p.m. that night, I’d arrived at home in Scottsdale — tired, but feeling very fulfilled about a great weekend.  This was my favorite song from the drive home.  I listened 3 times in a row, at full (level 40) volume.

Thanks for coming along on the trip!  Here are a few more pictures.

Entering Utah from Arizona on the outskirts of St. George


My brother’s pool.  Anybody want to come take a dip?


Photo-op with the ILX on the south end of town.


This was the same place where I took my mom’s 1993 Legend L sedan back in June 1997.  The surrounding landscape has changed a great deal over the last 17 years, but the rocks remain exactly the same.  I found out, by the way, that the old Sherwood Green Legend is long gone.  As of August 2011, it received a “junk” title in Boise, Idaho and there has been no record of it on Carfax since.  RIP, Legend!


Arrival in Pine Valley, Utah


Premium parking at the wedding


Reunited with my friend Kati at the wedding


My grandma is a whiz!  How many 81-year-olds do you know who text message?


Arrival in Beaver, UT with grandma and making a fuel-up at Sinclair for $3.84.


Mom captured this pic of me passing them on Hwy 153 heading up Beaver Canyon


High elevation cruising!


Brother’s cabin construction underway


Quick photo-op with one of the best road trip companions I’ve ever had!


Arriving at our picnic site


Lexus and Acura off-road vehicles


Niece Vivienne was the star of the show.


Group photo:  Kali (with Vivienne), Grandma, Tia, Tyson (with Rex)


Todd at the wheel of the ILX for part of the return trip


Throwback Thursday: Vintage Magazine Reviews of the Legend Coupe

Posted in Throwback on August 21, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  531,485


Odometer (ILX):  91,845


My, technology has come a long way in 20 years, hasn’t it?  The realization comes pretty quickly when you’re thumbing through a magazine from the 1990’s and see this kind of ad for Radio Shack.  Tape decks galore!


Has the automotive world come just as far?  I’ll let you decide.  Today, I’ll share with you a couple of fun articles that were written about the Acura Legend LS coupe when it was brand new.  First, this February 1993 write-up by Automobile Magazine.  The car was cited as having a 0-60 time of 6.8 seconds, a 15.3 second quarter mile, and a 146 mph top speed.


Next up, a multi-page comparo from Car & Driver, written that same month (February 1993).  The Legend was set against the Cadillac Eldorado, the Lincoln Mark VIII, and the Lexus SC400.  Spoiler alert:  They ended up concluding that the Lexus SC400 was the best car on the planet.  And the Legend?  Last place.  Now I ask:  Which automotive design has withstood the test of time most gracefully?  The SC still looks good, and the Legend without a doubt.  But the Lincoln and Caddy?



Page 1


Page 2


Page 3


My favorite line:  “The Legend dusts the SC400 in a sprint to 100 mph.”  Remember, the SC400 had a V8!

Page 4


Page 5


Page 6


Page 7


Page 8


Lastly, a quick scan from a “Competitive Comparisons 1995-96” booklet that was distributed as part of a salesperson training course.  Here, Acura pins the 1995 Legend L coupe against the BMW 325i.



Hope you enjoyed these blasts from the past as much as I did!

Legend Spy Shot Roundup #3

Posted in Legend, Spy Shots on August 19, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  531,483


Odometer (ILX):  91,751


When you’re in Arizona, the best parking spaces at the supermarket are not defined by their proximity to the front door.  They’re the ones with shade.  This is proper parking:  shade in a curb spot way as far away from the entrance as possible.


My friends know how excited I get when I see a Legend on the road, so years ago they started sending me pictures every time they see one.  It wasn’t until recently that I decided to start saving the pics.  We’re really getting quite a nice collection of shots!

Remember:  I love seeing these photos, but please always send them to me after you’re off the road.  Keep the roadways safe!

And now, I bring you the latest in reader-supplied pictures!  Let’s kick it off with my personal favorite, a 1994-95 LS coupe in Desert Mist Metallic with Oregon plates.  My friend Dusty saw this beauty on Scottsdale Road.  It’s a rare find:  one of only 550 Legend coupes in its color/trim configuration for those years combined.


(photo adjusted for angle)


The next three were from Conor in New York.  That 1989-90 sedan looks right at home carrying plywood on the interstate!


This G2 sedan somehow ended up with a mix & match set of wheels.


This Canterbury Green Metallic has some aftermarket chrome accents on the B pillar.


This Milano Red 1994-95 coupe came from Jim in Arizona.


As did this Rosewood Brown 1991-92 L sedan.


And this 1989-90 LS sedan.


Nick in Utah sent this artsy black & white shot of a 1994-95 L or LS sedan.  Probably in Cashmere Silver Metallic.


Ryan from Utah found a rare 1994-95 Legend GS sedan in Desert Mist Metallic.  It had over 230,000 miles on the odometer and was looking pretty nasty.


Brett in California found this Granada Black Pearl 1994-95 LS coupe.  Behind bars!


Dave in Washington spotted this 1994-95 LS coupe.  It might be Sherwood Green Metallic but it’s tough to tell.


Jason from Louisiana saw this 1989-90 sedan while on vacation in California.


Extra credit goes to Paul from Georgia for spotting two-in-one G2 sedans.


He also sent me this 1994-95 L coupe in Cashmere Silver Metallic.


Josh in Idaho found this bashed up sedan while on the job.


Tim from New Jersey saw this Cobalt Blue 1991 L sedan at a Mexican restaurant.


And this 1993 LS sedan (with 15″ coupe rims) at a Wawa convenience store.


Stephen from Washington saw this 1994-95 L/LS sedan in Desert Mist Metallic on his morning commute.


Ryan from Arizona spotted this clean 1993-95 L/LS sedan in Cashmere Silver Metallic.


And Ian from Arizona saw a 1991-92 L sedan in Persian Red Metallic.


As well as this 1991 L sedan in Golden Glow Pearl with Washington plates.


Dillon in North Carolina saw this Cashmere Silver at his workplace and had a nice chat with the owner.


Nice job to all for being on the lookout for Legends!

Group Drive: Mount Graham, Arizona

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Road Trip on August 17, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  531,438


Odometer (ILX):  91,696


Trip Distance:  390 Miles


Just a half hour after eating the biggest plate of chicken enchiladas of my life, I was already regretting it.  The road I was carving up in my 2013 Acura ILX was so curvy, it was making me nauseous.  After 8 or 9 miles of zig-zagging up the side of one of Arizona’s tallest mountains, I got stuck behind a slow-moving pickup truck.  Joe, from the passenger seat, said, “Good, maybe my lunch will go back to my stomach now.”  Ha!  I guess I hadn’t been the only one holding my breath and hanging on for dear life!  At least it wasn’t like that time when I was 8 years old and lost my lunch in the backseat of my aunt Jodi’s SUV.



Arizona Highway 366, also known as the “Swift Trail,” climbs southern Arizona’s Mount Graham in the Pinaleño Mountains at 10,717 feet in elevation.  It’s open from May through November and was designated a state scenic parkway in 1993.  There are some great resources online about this road but due to its remote nature, I’ve never been able to make it over there and check it out until yesterday.  Here’s one very detailed write-up, with the following excerpt:

The Swift Trail, with twenty-nine paved miles and the remainder gravel, begins seven miles south of Safford on U.S. 191. Turn southwest on Arizona Highway 366 and ascend a gently sloping bajada studded with creosote, mesquite, and acacia trees toward the looming Pinaleño Mountains.


The temperature can (and did, for us) vary by up to 30 degrees from the base of the road to the summit!  “It’s like driving from Mexico to Canada in an hour and a half,” said one author.  Joe and I watched as we passed 4,000; 5,000; 6,000 foot signs.  This road maxed out at over 9,000 feet!  The landscape changed dramatically, too.  The desert floor gave way to taller trees and every curve offered a new viewpoint of the valley below.  Guardrails?  Non-existent.  This was a two-hands-on-the-wheel driving experience.  With exception for shifting gears, of course, because in my case there were plenty of high-RPM shifts through 2nd, 3rd, and 4th gears to power up the steep grade and keep the momentum.

Just check out this road!


For this experience, I was joined by a few friends.  I present to you, the contenders:

Tyson’s 2013 Acura ILX 2.4:  201 horsepower


Paul’s 2013 Acura TL SH-AWD:  305 horsepower


Matt’s 2014 Infiniti Q50S:  328 horsepower


Our day started out in the Phoenix area with a quick breakfast stop at the Krispy Kreme store on Superstition Springs Road in Mesa off US 60.  No road trip is complete without appropriate fuel, right?  Or in this case, a sugar rush.  From there, we made our way eastward through the mining towns of Superior, Miami, and Globe.  Miami, Arizona is the “Copper Center of the World”  (or at least that’s what their entrance sign below said).


About 80 miles from Globe, we arrived in the small town of Safford.  The best Mexican place in town, Casa Mañana, was bustling with hungry midday lunch traffic, but we enjoyed the menu and hospitality before heading southbound on Highway 191 toward Swift Trail Junction.  There, we’d be taking Highway 366 all the way to the summit of Mount Graham, some 29 miles later.


Matt and Alan took the lead in the Q50, Paul and Peter followed suit in the TL, and Joe and I brought up the rear in the ILX.  I knew I’d be making some photo and video stops along the way and didn’t want to hold the other guys up.  Besides, did I think I was going to be able to set the pace with a full 100 horsepower fewer than either of them had under the hood?  No thanks!


Still, I gave the ILX tires and suspension a pretty good beating.  The rev-happy 2.4 liter spent most of its time in the 3,000 to 5,000 RPM range as we made our ascent.  After our short delay behind the slow pickup truck (and after our stomachs had the chance to settle just slightly), Joe and I zoomed back to an exhilarating pace and made our way up the switchbacks.  Finally, we made it to the end of the paved road where the other guys had already started taking a few pictures.  Despite the fact that the temperature at the base of Graham was 100 degrees, we were now in 67 degrees and enjoying it immensely.


I couldn’t resist exploring a bit down the dirt road ahead, so we followed that for a couple of miles which led us to a campground.  The downhill return to Safford went quickly – so quickly, in fact, that I could smell burning tires and brakes.  My sweet tooth got the best of me and I succumbed to a pit stop at “Taylor Freeze” for a root beer freeze in the town of Pima.  A phenomenal Arizona sunset closed out the day as we returned to the Phoenix area.  In all, the drive took us about 9 hours round-trip including the breaks and the lunch stop.  Another adventure in the books for me — and for all of us.


Thanks for being a part of it!  Here are the rest of the photos and a short video.

Peter and Joe up front in the ILX




Those “creamy enchiladas.”  I think there was an entire tub of sour cream on this plate.


It’s almost as if my ILX and Paul’s TL were having a fight and didn’t want to park next to one another.


Starting the ascent up Highway 366


Made it to the top!  Or, at least where the pavement ends.


Three Japanese luxury sport sedans


Venetian Ruby is a great color on that Q50


Quick stop at the campground after doing a little off-roading (sorry, Matt & Paul!)


Back to the highway we go


Photo op at scenic viewpoint


Just can’t get enough of these Arizona skies


Cars were looking good!


Fuel stop in Thatcher, Arizona at Shell


Taylor Freeze.  Stop there sometime for a shake or malt!


Reader’s Ride: Dillon’s 2004 Acura TSX

Posted in Reader's Ride on August 14, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  531,435


Odometer (ILX):  91,191


It’s finally time to recognize one of D25’s most loyal readers and someone who has contributed content various times to the blog.  Dillon from North Carolina is known in some circles under the alias “Hondatalover” and his concept car renderings have inspired many to make updates to their cars, including the manufacturers themselves.  Here’s an example of one of his Photoshops.  More of his custom ILX models are featured in this thread on Acurazine.

Special ILX


TLX coupe!

TLX Coupe rearlogo

Dillon’s personal car is a 112,000-mile Premium White Pearl Acura TSX.


Dillon sent me these current photos of the car on a scenic back road in North Carolina.



Even the interior is still spotless at 10 years old.


I’ve always liked how the needles on the TSX gauges are facing down when the car’s off.



That OEM spoiler is a nice looking upgrade.


Here’s a little interview I had with Dillon to get some background on his car.

List the Honda & Acura products you’ve owned in order.

1998 Honda Accord LX, 2004 Acura TSX (current)

How did you first learn of Acura? What inspired you or your family to buy your first?

Learned from Acura through Bell Ford, a local in-town, dealership when mom was looking to buy a pickup.  I spotted the TSX and walked over to it and mom came over with me and the sales man.  We started looking around at the car and mom eventually asked for a test drive.  Then it was ours in 2008.  🙂

What about the Acura brand has kept you so loyal?

The quality of the product at its competitive price.  The driver focused driving dynamics and the styling as well will snag any buyer looking for a entry-premium or near-premium car.

What’s your favorite song or album to blast while driving your TSX?

Is this where I post all of my Pandora stations?  I honestly can’t say one in particular.  80’s Rock if I really had to but I’ll listen to everything there is if it sounds good.  It all depends on the road, who I’m with and my mood.

If you could were to offer feedback to Acura about the company’s current model lineup, what would it be?

A more focused sedan lineup with a coupe or two that offers core signature Acura technologies and maybe even some firsts for the brand.  My advice to the designers is to step outside of the box and put their passion on paper and have it finalized and thoroughly refined.  The marketing could be more raw and exciting as well.  I feel the brand needs to stay focused on their performance luxury, and not so much as comfort luxury strategies.   Otherwise I love the brand no matter what and even want to be a part of it.

Thanks, Dillon, for sharing!

Before anyone clicks away, and on the subject of Acura TSX’s, check out the latest from East West Brothers Garage.


Kevin, the “East” brother, is currently midway through an adventurous cross-country drive from Washington, DC to Los Angeles, California by way of about 4,300 miles of sightseeing.  The car of choice is a 2012 TSX Special Edition 6-speed.

Photos are being posted along the way, so make sure you check out the EWBG Facebook Page to watch the updates.

Nice bike rack!


Test Drive: 2015 Acura TLX V6

Posted in TLX, Vehicle Reviews on August 12, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  531,389


Odometer (ILX):  91,150



Rain, in Phoenix?  I never thought the first feature I’d be experiencing on Acura’s most advanced vehicle ever would be its rain-sensing windshield wipers, but it was.  I’ve been watching for this car to hit the streets since I saw the cover pulled off the prototype in January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

My local dealership, Acura of Tempe, currently has 3 TLX demo cars in stock.  All are V6, front-wheel-drive models with the Advance (top-line) trim package.  My friend Daniel, who you’ve already met and who drives a sweet Acura TL, met up with me for this rainy-day test drive of Acura’s all-new midsize sedan.  Most of my readers will already know that this car debuted as a replacement for the now-discontinued TL and TSX models, and it’s sized in between the two.

The TLX that I drove was powered by a 290-horsepower, 3.5 liter V6 engine and Acura’s signature “Precision All-Wheel Steering” (P-AWS)..  A few dealer add-ons (window tint, wheel locks, and side moldings) drove the price to just above $44,000.  The Crystal Black Pearl exterior was nicely complimented by an “Espresso” (fancy speak for “Brown”) interior.  I liked the combination, and as crazy as it would be to own a black car in Arizona, I think that’d be my top pic from the color palette. 


So how about that driving experience, eh?  Well, I wasn’t even in the car for more than 3 seconds when my right hand went down to reach for a shift a lever that wasn’t there.  That’s because the car I had was equipped with a push-button transmission.  A pull-back on the “R” button sent me into Reverse, but not before I cranked my ventilated seat to “high” setting via the touch-screen climate control.  In all, my drive route was no more than 5 or 6 miles, but it was enough to experience the driving dynamics in both surface street & freeway settings. 

I found the TLX eager to accelerate and ultra smooth in doing so.  Of the transmission’s 9 speeds, I think I only got it up to 5th.  Tire spin from a dead stop comes easily with the torquey V6, especially on wet pavement.  Fit and finish exceeds expectations, with tasteful woodgrain accents on the door panels and soft-touch materials throughout the cabin.  Daniel commented that the level of refinement exceeded that of his 2012 TL by quite a bit.  Wind & road noises were heavily muted in the cabin. Accelerating onto the Interstate 10 onramp, I dipped deeply into the throttle and loved the sound of the engine at 5,000 RPM, awakening from its refined state.

It’s tough to find fault with the TLX.  Adam, the sales representative who accompanied us, reported that it’s entirely possible for even the V6 engine to achieve MPG in the 40’s in “Economy” mode.  That kind of efficiency, coupled with the amenities that Acura is great at providing, make for a compelling package deal.  Adam encouraged Daniel to engage “Sport Plus” mode during his test drive, and even from the back seat I could readily feel the difference in engine performance, shift points, and suspension as the car transformed into a more raw driving experience:  higher revs, tighter handling, and more pronounced gear transitions.

If Acura were to offer a 6-speed manual transmission in the TLX I’d be pondering an upgrade from the ILX, but as for right now I’m content to row my own gears.  I’m looking forward to checking out the 2.4 liter 4 cylinder TLX as soon as it’s available, as well as the Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive version, but for now I stand impressed at what the TLX offers.  I’ll post a more detailed review as soon as I get access to the vehicle for more than just short test drive.

Huge thanks to Sales Consultant Adam Ferguson for taking the time to introduce us to the TLX.  He mentioned during my test drive, “It’s nice to be on a test drive with people who already know about the car!” 


Here we have the TLX in Crystal Black Pearl.


Rear perspective.


These gauges are familiar as the layout is similar to what I’m already used to in my ILX.


“Espresso” interior.  Nice color!


Passenger side interior.


Just getting back from our test drive.


Parked with the 2012 TL & 2013 ILX.


Three Acuras in a row.


Great looking car from this angle.


Side by side:  2012 TL, 2015 TLX


Daniel at the wheel for a test drive.


Man, those Jewel Eye headlights on the TLX sure make my ILX projector HID bulbs look dim!


For those local to the Phoenix, Arizona area, drop Adam an email at and he’ll show you around the TLX.

Here’s a video review on the TLX posted today by Sofyan at 2theRedline.

Playing in Phoenix’s Papago Park

Posted in Arizona, Hikes, ILX on August 10, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  531,389


Odometer (ILX):  91,003


It’s been a relaxing last couple of weekends in town since the whole NALM adventure in Los Angeles.  I’ve lived in the Phoenix area for 8 years and it wasn’t until yesterday that I took the time to hike Papago Park.  There’s a sandstone rock formation there called “Hole In the Rock.”  Many years of wind erosion (6 million+ years worth) have left an opening in this gigantic rock.  It’s believed that ancient Hohokam Indian tribes used the openings and sunlight to track the solstices.


If you look very closely (and excuse the poor quality of my iPhone photography) you’ll see miniature people standing inside the opening in the above picture.  To access that area, the very short trail goes around the back side of the rock and up a series of steps.  I was walking at a good pace and it took me only about 8 minutes to get up to the viewpoint.


On approach, the view is something like this.


And here’s the view while sitting in the opening.


Made it!


Stay tuned to RNR Auto Blog for a review coming up of the Legend coupe & sedan.  My friend Ruben and I got together for some pictures and test drives of the Desert Mist Metallic twins this afternoon.


In other news:  Y’all remember that guy from Idaho with the 410,000-mile TSX who joined me for a drive over the 4th of July?  Well, unfortunately he had a little run-in with a pickup truck a few weeks ago and his car has been under reconstruction.


The great news is that the car is already repaired.  In a short matter of time, Josh is now back to pounding the pavement in his tried and trusty workhorse.  Follow his detailed account of his TSX rebuild on TSX Travels.

Have a great week!

2theRedline Reviews: Acura NSX & Acura Legend

Posted in Blog, Legend, NSX on August 6, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  531,321


Odometer (ILX):  90,629



When Sofyan Bey, 2theRedline Editor, visited Phoenix a few weeks ago for the Death Valley trip, he took the time for an in-depth look at my cars.  Having soared to nearly 60,000 YouTube subscribers in just a couple of years, Sofyan’s detailed and engaging auto reviews have become widely popular.  Enjoy these special features he put together on my 1992 NSX and my 1994 Legends.



Thanks, Sofyan!