Archive for the Vehicle Reviews Category

NSX Visitors, TLX Video, & a Gas Station Called The Thumb

Posted in Arizona, Restaurants, TLX, Vehicle Reviews on October 24, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Integra Sedan):  72,211

You know when you’re at Chili’s and someone orders chicken fajitas that come out from the kitchen steaming sizzling and evoke interest from jealous onlookers at other tables?  That’s called the “fajita effect,” at least according to my friend John who was visiting from North Carolina this past week.  John was one of a few of my friends who joined for an evening at one of the American middle class’s favorite chain restaurants.  Since John was in his red 2000 NSX, my house that night looked a bit like an Acura dealership.  The other cars you see here are a loaner 2018 TLX, my friend Jack’s 2006 RSX, and my 2013 ILX.  Another friend commented, “All your exes (X’s) are home.”

John was in the middle of a monumental 8,000-mile road trip from coast to coast, and back.  He started out in NC around September 10 and made his way to San Francisco, California in time to participate in this year’s NSXPO.  From there, he spent additional time roaming around California, working his way south to spend time in Joshua Tree National Park before starting his eastbound return trip, which is what brought him through Phoenix.  He ended up staying 3 nights at my place and I was happy to have him around.

Joining the party was Trent Streeter from Tucson who you met in a recent AcuraConnected article, who drives a beautiful 1992 NSX in Berlina Black.  I made space in the garage for both to park indoors while they were at my house, and I must say I enjoyed having some nice looking eye candy in there!

We attended a Cars & Coffee event in Chandler, along with several other NSXs.

My NSX is running & driving in tip-top shape thanks to some extensive preventive maintenance performed at Acura of Tempe.  Here are the items that were addressed:  Replace timing belt, water pump, tensioners, cam sensor, outer belts, replace valve cover gaskets and cam seals, replace VTEC solenoid seals, replace coolant hoses, replace rear brake pads, resurface rear brake rotors.

While all of this was being done, I roamed around in a loaner 2018 Acura TLX V6 SH-AWD.  I enjoyed it a lot – especially its all-wheel-drive and confidence-inspiring handling during a couple of unusually rainy days here in Phoenix.  I put together a 10-minute video showing some of the highlights.  I took the car to a couple of important destinations.

One was a gas station & restaurant called The Thumb in Scottsdale which has been featured on TV (Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives).  They have great BBQ – I went with the pork brisket breakfast tacos, which sound like an odd combination, but trust me – it works.  They also sell race gas (95 octane).  I did not fill up the TLX with that.

The other destination was a historically significant home on 2nd Street in Phoenix near my office.  It was the site of 2 murders in 1931 by a woman named Winnie Ruth Judd.  She gained national notoriety not just for the fact that she killed her two roommates over a love affair, but because she later dismembered their bodies and mailed them in luggage via train to Los Angeles with intent of dumping the bodies into the ocean.  She spent most of the rest of her life in & out of insane asylums and court rooms, but lived to the ripe old age of 93.  I saw a film about her at a cool spot called FilmBar.

This purple home is where Winnie’s crime was committed.  Today, 87 years later, it’s surrounded by high rise condominiums.  It’s the only original home left on the entire block.

Here’s FilmBar where I saw the flick.

Here’s the video I put together on the TLX.

Another interior shot of The Thumb; this one features the fish tank.

Delicious breakfast tacos + potato salad on the side.

Racing fuel sold here!

Trent’s custom NSX interior.

Tyson, Trent, John

John gave me a silver NSX to add to my collection of memorabilia.

I got the 1994 Legend GS out for a bit of fun in the sun.

Special shout-out to my friend Rick from Rick’s Audi Double YouTube channel for sharing some logo stickers with me.  If you’re into car detailing and have even the slightest obsessive-compulsive disorder, you’ll definitely want to subscribe.

The 1990 Honda Accord EX got some mechanical loving this week with a $1,200 timing belt & water pump service at Hon-Man in Tempe.  The car’s prior timing belt was 10 years old and due for replacement for a time-based interval.  It is running & driving perfectly.

For those who haven’t had enough YouTube yet, I have 2 more videos for you to check out.  The first was put together by my friend Dom when I let him drive my NSX back in September at NSXPO.

In this next one regarding Acura’s return to Precision Crafted Performance, I make an appearance at around 6:40 in.

Fast Car Friday: 2018 Southwest Lifestyle Media Drive in Chandler, Arizona

Posted in Arizona, PAPA, Vehicle Reviews on October 21, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  563,683

Every once in a while, I get to feast on an automotive sampler platter by driving a dozen or more new cars in a single day.  Sounds like a pretty awesome way to see where the auto industry is going, right?  This past Friday, I participated in the Southwest Lifestyle Media Drive in Chandler, Arizona at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.

The available offerings came from a wide array of configurations:  A 104-horsepower Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid and a 797-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye are at vastly different ends of the performance spectrum, but both of them played a strong game as contenders in this unique “vehicle of the year” program.

The Southwest Lifestyle event builds on a former event called the Active Lifestyle Vehicle (ALV) of the Year that was 14 years running.  ALV Co-Founder Nina Russin stepped away after her many years of success, and journalist Becky Antioco took the reins to reinvent it as something fresh and new.  The result was a 1-day program hosted at the Bondurant Racing School facility where about 20 journalists put 17 vehicles through their paces and ultimately cast ballots to name top winners in 5 categories.  Here were the final results:

  • Car of the Year – Best Value:  2019 Kia Forte EX
  • Car of the Year – Performance / Luxury:  2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Redeye
  • SUV/CUV of the Year – Best Value:  2019 Subaru Ascent
  • SUV/CUV of the Year – Luxury:  2018 Lexus LX570
  • Truck of the Year:  2019 RAM 1500 Longhorn

SLMD kicked off on Thursday evening with a reception at the Sheraton Grand Resort, giving local journalists the chance to interact with representatives from the auto manufacturers in a casual setting with food & beverages.  Friday’s activities started early, with a lineup of fully spit-shined new cars ready to pound the pavement by the time registration got underway at 8:00 a.m.

Both on- and off-road drive routes were made available – the latter subjecting the trucks & SUVs to a pretty gnarly series of terrain challenges that were custom-built for the event by Bondurant staff.  Scott Brown from Fiat-Chrysler was proud of how the company’s latest Wrangler “JL” made light work of those obstacles.  It was a very competitive playing field all around, and ultimately the Subaru took top honors.  Journalists may have been swayed by the fact that it has 19 cup holders.

For the on-road portion, a 20-minute drive route gave journalists the chance to subject vehicles to both city & highway driving environments, thanks to easy access to the Interstate 10 onramp and traffic-free surface streets in the near vicinity.  This playground was where I first experienced that nearly-800-horsepower Hellcat as well as the new, limited-edition 480-horsepower Ford Mustang Bullitt.

The Mustang’s release coincides with the famous Steve McQueen movie “Bullitt” which was released 50 years ago exactly, and the model plays homage to that heritage and history.  According to Sam Schembari-Negroni from Ford, engineers even modeled the car’s exhaust note after the original.  I found the car an awesome all-around package – especially its slick-shifting 6-speed manual.

Rounding out the lineup were an assortment of other trucks, SUVs, and passenger cars – each selected for the event because of the characteristics that make them great vehicles for folks living in the southwest.  In about 4 hours’ drive time – broken up by a delicious BBQ lunch sponsored by Fiat-Chrysler, I had the opportunity to drive 12 of the 17 vehicles, and I can say with a certainty that I’m excited about the direction things are going in the auto industry and it’s a great time to be a driver and enthusiast.

I thank the Southwest Lifestyle Media event directors as well as the automakers for the opportunity to participate!

New Kia Forte

With Natalie Kumaratne from Honda and James Lee from Six Speed Blog, at the opening reception

Our host facility for Friday’s fun

Event Directory Becky gives us a welcome & instructions

Test-driving a Honda Pilot Elite

The Volkswagen Alltrack, left, was 1 of 3 vehicles in the event with a manual transmission, which I was glad to see.  The Infiniti QX50, at right, was a nice family cruiser.

This was some of the best BBQ I’ve ever had.

My pick was a “burnt ends” combo platter with cole slaw on the side.

Winner in the luxo-SUV category was this big Lexus

Scott Brown, right, explains some of the features of the new “JL” Wrangler Sahara.

Hot Stuff: Toyota’s Arizona Proving Ground (TAPG) Intro & Presentation

Posted in PAPA, Vehicle Reviews on August 16, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  563,505

It’s a little ironic that a vehicle tested and developed almost exclusively at the one of the hottest places in the desert came to be painted in a color called “Windchill Pearl.”  That’s exactly what happened with the 2019 Toyota Avalon that was on display for the Phoenix Automotive Press Association (PAPA) journalist group last night at the Phoenix Art Museum.

Now in its fifth generation, the Avalon continues to raise the bar ever-higher as Toyota’s flagship sedan.  Cory Tafoya, Principal Engineer from the Vehicle Performance Development team, walked PAPA members through a slideshow illustrating how Arizona’s test track has become such an important venue for not only the Avalon project, but for every Toyota model from the tiny iQ microcar to the six-figure supercar Lexus LC500.

Every automaker puts its prototype and in-development models through the rigors of hot weather testing, and for good reason.  Last December I was able to make a visit to one such track (but operated by Honda) in Cantil, California where I drove the new Acura NSX at 155 miles per hour on the oval.  Toyota’s oval is even longer at 10 miles in total distance – making it, in fact, the longest oval track in the world.

Located about 60 miles northwest of Phoenix, desert ground was broken for the new Toyota Arizona Proving Ground (or TAPG) in a 1991 ceremony.  The facility went on to become one of the largest of its kind, with nearly 80 miles of testing facilities across 12,000 acres.  In April 2018, it celebrated 25 years of being in operation.

Look at that Camry breaking new ground – figuratively and literally.

Test track in relation to Phoenix:

Speakers in the PAPA program included a few of the roughly 40 associates who work at the proving ground, as well as Technology Communications Analyst Brian Watkins who had flown in from Ann Arbor for the presentations.  Project Manager Richard Woodroffe gave an overview of track operations and fielded questions from the group regarding “typical day” workload tasks, security / surveillance, and a little about how the innovations at the track end up being incorporated into production vehicles.

DJ Quint then shared some fun sidebar stories about extracurricular activities that take place at the track – namely, participation in a small grassroots race team that campaigns a 2013 Scion FR-S (now badged as a Toyota 86) in a series of endurance races in the western United States.  Starting with limited resources and little race experience, DJ and his colleagues have gone on to successfully compete in 27 events over the last 4 years and aspire to take part in this year’s “24 Hours of Thunderhill” event in California later this year.

As for the Avalon, it’s come a long way since its 1994 model year debut.

My grandpa is 88 years old and has two Avalons (2000 and 2006).  Avalons are among the most reliable cars on the road today.  The new direction for Avalon is to inject some performance and “sport” into a model that historically has catered only to people like my grandpa.

Cory Tafoya is proud of the work he’s been able to do to the latest iteration, including large forward advancements in suspension technology called AVS (Adaptive Variable Suspension).  The 2019 model on display at the Art Museum was eye-catching and surprisingly sporty-looking with its aggressive lines, quad outlet exhausts, and LED lighting.

Now if only its “Windchill Pearl” color had brought Phoenix a cold front along with it.

 

Drive to Five Review: 2019 Acura RDX SH-AWD Advance

Posted in Accord, RDX, Vehicle Reviews on August 9, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  563,495 Miles

Odometer (RDX):  911 Miles

Refined, Dynamic, and Xceptionally equipped.  I guess that’s how I’d define the acronym that Acura pinned on its latest version of the crossover that so many have come to know and love.  Does it look at home in this garage?

The Acura RDX, now in its third generation, is a power player for the Acura brand.  It sells over 50,000 units per year.  That success is impressive given the competitive segment that the RDX plays in:  It seems, everyone is trying to get in on the crossover game.  Over the years, I’ve been able to see firsthand the evolution the RDX.  Back in 2016, I put a prior-gen model through its paces on a mountain climb.

Building each upon advancements in technology since the RDX first launched in 2007, the 2019 model year version was first shown at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January 2018, and it went on sale six months later.  You can see the differences between the third and second-gens here.

I got my hot little hands on the first one in the Phoenix area media fleet this past Wednesday.  It only had 775 miles on the odometer when I turned the key.  Or rather, pushed the Start button.  This is a level of tech I’m not accustomed to!  You can practically get a whiff of the new car smell just from looking at the interior.  What if they made scratch & sniff computer monitors?

Getting settled into the RDX, I enjoyed the step-in height right off the bat.  I’m accustomed to riding low to the ground, so this was a nice change of pace – especially when I needed to throw my backpack and laptop into the back seat as I left the office.  Speaking of the seats, the driver’s seat was ergonomic perfection – especially when cranked up to Level 3 on the ventilation setting.  It is August in Phoenix, after all.

The RDX is about as well-rounded as any vehicle can be.  It exhibits polite road manners, it’s easy to maneuver and park, scoots down the road with plenty of power, and offers up some great utility for folks with active lifestyles who need that extra cargo room or ground clearance from time to time (in my current collection of 7 Acuras, none have All-Wheel-Drive capability – sadly).

Over my seven days with the RDX, I had time to capture perspectives of both positive and negative nature.  Maybe it’s easier to just summarize a few of those points in list form.

  • Loved:  Power, ELS audio system, visibility, illumination, seats, step-in height, fit & finish, ride quality, convenience tech (power liftgate, smart key, head up display), panoramic roof, storage solutions, HVAC effectiveness, overall size – not too big, not too small, gauge cluster display (fun graphics upon start/stop), CarPlay interface
  • Disliked:  Touch pad interface, dynamic selector placement (I’d prefer a volume knob front and center instead), occasionally intrusive safety tech, default automatic start/stop, black wheels

Performance is the name of the game, with the RDX producing 272 horsepower (that’s two more than my 1992 NSX!) out of a 2-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder.  A ten speed automatic transmission (again, outdoing the NSX with double the gears!) puts the power to the ground lickety-split.  I found “Sport Plus” mode to generate a surprisingly quick acceleration experience for a vehicle that weighs nearly 4,000 pounds.  I got a kick out of the graphics on the Snow mode setting.

It’s worth mentioning that as an audiophile, I greatly appreciate the efforts made to create a great sounding listening experience in the cabin.  I was provided some ELS Studio 3D audio files on a USB stick that I played at max volume.  I can say with a certainty that Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing” sounds at least as good in the new RDX as it sounded in my old TL Type-S with a DVD-Audio sound system.

Acura’s return to its “Precision Crafted Performance” mantra from the brand’s early days is evident here, especially considering the RDX can be outfitted in A-Spec.  The A-Spec trim has always been known as the sportiest, and offers up suspension & handling updates among other features.

Tipping the cash register at just over $48,000, this RDX was highly equipped, but still offers a nice value for those wanting a well-rounded package.  I thank the folks at Acura for the chance to put this one through its paces for a few days!

I’ve uploaded a video capturing some of my experience with it.

Here you can see the head-up display

Multiple camera angles when putting the vehicle into reverse

When I parked the RDX and walked away, I received a notification about where it was located.  This could be handy at concerts, in unfamiliar cities, etc.

Roommate took this while I was playing Musical Cars on Saturday morning.  The RDX felt right at home swapping spaces with some fellow Acuras.

Out and about on Saturday with Greg’s 1995 NSX.

Visiting Vlad who has a Civic Type-R.  He liked the RDX, too.

Safe seating for my Chipotle take-out transport!

Lots of controls down here to the left of the steering wheel.

View from the cargo compartment

And the cargo compartment itself.  Pretty roomy!

Until next time!

Bonus material – I have another Honda at the house.  This one needs some love.

A Honda Beat, Leather Seats, and Other Deets

Posted in Detailing, Legend, Vehicle Reviews on July 3, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend Coupe):  561,566

Odometer (Legend Sedan):  158,203

“Midship Amusement” – what in the world could that possibly mean?  Sometimes a translation comes across a little funky when crossing continents.  When Honda engineers put together the Beat, a 3-cylinder compact car, in Japan 27 years ago, they thought that would be a fun tagline to promote the car with.  And I can say with a certainty that this little 2-seat, mid-engined car did indeed provide the most automotive amusement that I’ve had in years!

A friend recently went through extensive efforts to import and register one such car to the states: a remarkably well-kept 1991 model in yellow with only 47,000 kilometers on it (about 29,000 miles).  He was in Arizona with the car earlier this week and I got to try my hand – my left hand, that is – at shifting through its 5 gears.

One of about 33,000 total cars produced between model years 1991 and 1996, the car is a total grin-machine.  It turned heads from the second we backed it off a trailer, on every street corner, and in my own driveway.  Speed demon it is not, but the handling is precise and the shifter operates with typical Honda flawlessness.

I was able to get comfortable in the small cockpit and got acquainted with the controls.  Everything is the same as a left-hand-drive car except for the turn signals & wipers being reversed.  So the pedal layout, shift pattern, and everything else is exactly as you’re already used to.  My friend and I blasted through the gears in urban Phoenix for a few miles and by the time I’d gone a couple of blocks, I was already comfortable managing it.

That zebra-patterned interior is really one of the best parts!

Here’s a video of my experience trying the Beat out.

I spent some time over the weekend performing a leather seat conditioning on the Legend sedan.  It has original seats, and they’re in nice shape but have some cracks on them.  The process involved a product called Fiebing’s Neatsfoot Oil from the local Tractor Supply store.  It’s a regimen usually reserved for other saddles, boots, and other leather items but I’d heard from a few people it was good for car interiors.

What I discovered is that it does a nice job of moisturizing, but on lighter seats like mine, it will permanently stain the cracked areas darker so they become more visible.  I only recommend this process if you have black seats or they’re still in nice condition. This is a picture from when the oil was soaking in.

Midway through ‘soaking’

And here’s a video capturing the start-to-finish process, including a few scenes from other things like a 72,000 mile Integra GS milestone.

Since you’re already on YouTube, check out this video montage capturing the most recent 220 submissions to my “spy shot” collection.  I don’t have time to crop and upload all of them like I’ve done in spy shot blog entries in the past, but I did put them into a video which I hope you’ll enjoy.  Thanks to all who have contributed!

I have a few more links to share as we close out this week’s updates.

Darren from IDrewYourCar.com finished the latest piece of artwork for the gallery in my garage.  Check out his rendering of the 1992 Integra sedan.

And Pat from Honda Vintage Culture has started releasing T-shirt designs that revolve around Honda motorsports heritage.  A couple of weeks ago, his first 3 designs came out on Blipshift.  Subscribe to his website, VintageCulture.store and follow his page on Instagram at @hondavintageculture for more information!

My friend Kai has listed the 1989 Honda Accord SE-i that was being stored at my house for the last 6 months.  It only has 43,000 miles on it.  The 7-day, no-reserve auction began on Monday.  It’s a great car and I hope it finds a good home.

A few shots I helped Kai with ended up making their way into the auction.  Here is the listing.  He’s off to a strong start already.  At the time I type this, it’s been online for only about 1 day with bids in the low $2,000s, 156 watchers, and over 3,400 views.

Here’s the 72,000-mile readout on the Integra GS.

My friend Michael visited from Chicago last week and we met up for a bite to eat.  He has a gorgeous Vortex Blue TSX.

I also met up with my friend Daniel who has an awesome TLX A-Spec.

Thought you’d get a kick out of this license plate on a Civic Si.

Have a great holiday week!

Drive to Five Review: Nevada Ghost Towning in the 2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid

Posted in Ghost Town, MDX, Nevada, Utah, Vehicle Reviews on February 13, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Integra):  246,192

Odometer (MDX):  5,756

Trip Distance:  1,056 Miles

I needed a workhorse to travel back to an 1800s mining town this past weekend and Acura gave me just the right vehicle for the job.  After now completing over 1,000 miles in the latest iteration of its 3-row SUV, I can say with a certainty that the latest MDX is a capable, fun-to-drive machine that offers up first class comfort for a trip of that distance.  Do I have to give it back?

This now marks the fourth time I’ve put a third-generation MDX through its paces.  Here are some prior reviews from here on the blog:

Coming up in April, Las Vegas, Nevada will once again play home to a regional Acura NSX club meet-up called WestFest.  Last year, the event brought out over 50 cars and 80 people.  As part of the planning committee, my role is to establish and plan out the logistics of a scenic group drive to be held on Saturday, April 28th.  It’s not easy to come up with drives for a caravan of that size.

Considerations:

  • Where haven’t we been yet?
  • What will traffic & weather patterns be like on the day & time of our trip?
  • What are the road conditions – are they appropriate for a group of sportscars?
  • Are there any tolls or park fees to consider?
  • How can we keep everyone together, or does it make more sense to split the group?
  • Are there places for fuel and snack stops along the way?

As one can imagine, it takes a great deal of effort to coordinate such an activity.  I partnered up with my friends Dane and Brandon, both Las Vegas locals, to take the MDX out on Saturday morning and scout the terrain.  It was the perfect vehicle for our expedition to the desert:  Second-row accommodations are posh, with captains’ chairs and plenty of space all around.  There are of course independent climate controls for passengers in those areas.  Meanwhile, I pampered myself up front with a heated seat heater, heated steering wheel, and convenient cup holder for my iced caramel macchiato.  You’d think we were going to the local shopping mall and not to the middle of nowhere.

Our drive route for the day was about 160 miles and took us 4 hours from start to finish, including our sightseeing and lunch stops.

Nelson, Nevada is one of many ghost towns in the vast expanses of land around the southwest.  It’s nestled in El Dorado Canyon, about 12 miles off Highway 95 to the east.  If you blink, you might miss the turnoff, so it’s a good thing Dane was coaching me from the passenger seat on where to make my exit at Highway 165.  We passed only one other vehicle on the way into Nelson from there.

The two-laner got a little more narrow, a little more rough, and more curvy as we dipped down in elevation toward the Colorado River.  Soon the buildings of the old mining town came into view, along with dozens of old cars left out to the elements with windows down (or broken out) and interiors rotting away.  I parked the MDX in a dirt lot and we got outside to wander around a little, noting how silent it was outside aside from the scuffling sound made from our shoes on the gravel.

We must have been the first tourists in town that day, because an old man came out of what appeared to be the main general store and put away the ‘closed’ sign while inviting us inside.  The wooden building doubles as his home, but he sells all sorts of remnants of the Wild West in there.  My favorite display was an exhibit of some the various films that the town of Nelson has appeared in, including the Kurt Russell classic “Breakdown.”

Luckily for us (and unlike Kurt Russell’s red Jeep Grand Cherokee in that movie), the MDX was didn’t give us any check-engine lights or troubles of any nature.  We snapped a few photos in Nelson before continuing eastward another few miles to where we could nearly drive right to the banks of the mighty Colorado River on a dirt road.  There was a nice paved turnaround spot that I think will make for a perfect photo-op for the group of NSXs at the April event.

Our next destination on the drive loop was Searchlight, Nevada – a teeny spot on the map that (like most small towns in that area) – got its start as a mining community in the late 1800s but mostly dried up by the mid 1950s.  The name came from one of its original prospectors who said, “It would take a searchlight to find gold out here.”

Dane, Brandon, and I rolled onward toward Highway 164 westbound and then over to Interstate 15 northbound.  I hit the gas on the onramp.  For a full size SUV that’s loaded down with technology and comfort niceties, the MDX still scoots down the road with more than ample power.  I observed an overall combined MPG of about 26 despite going heavy on the throttle a few times.  Range on a full tank is in the high 400s.

The Country Club Buffet at Primm Valley Casino, right along the California-Nevada state line, satisfied our hunger before we made our last stop of the day.  Stacked along the east side of I-15 are 7 columns of vividly painted boulders, referred to as “Seven Magic Mountains.”  The massive rocks were cut from a nearby quarry and painted fluorescent colors by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone.  The art installation was opened in 2016 and will be removed sometime this year, so I was glad to get a chance to see it.

The MDX stickers at $58,000 as-tested, including Tech & Advance packages with a full suite of AcuraWatch driver-assistance aids.  I found the LKAS (Lane Keeping Assist System) to be helpful but could do without the ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control).  I much prefer to set a cruise speed and have it be maintained – with the Adaptive engaged, the vehicle starts slowing down well in advance of approaching a vehicle ahead, so you have to change lanes very early which isn’t always possible or convenient.  It’s something I could learn to live with, but just an observation.  The only other gripe I had was with the aesthetics of the black wheels.

There’s a lot to love about the MDX.  Those captivating jewel eye headlights with LED turn signals are just as much “function” as they are “form.”  The ELS Studio Premium audio system will knock your socks off.  I set the bass and the subwoofer to maximum levels for optimal punch, and it retained crisp clarity all the way up to max volume level 40.  Sirius XM channel “90s on 9” never sounded so good.  And if it’s solitude you want, a quiet cabin is easy to achieve too.  I sailed along at 75 mph with minimal wind, road, and engine noise.  The MDX’s 7-speed dual-clutch transmission keeps the revs low at those speeds.

It was tough to give the keys back after being pampered for 7 days, but I was glad for the opportunity to sample the high life!  Below is a 7-minute video and a collection of other photos from my week with the Modern Steel Metallic MDX.  Thanks, Acura, for the loaner!

Back seat comfort

Fueling up at Circle K in Phoenix

And we’re off!

Rolling into Las Vegas at sunset

5,000 mile milestone!

Arrival in Nelson

The ‘general store’ in Nelson

Loved this 1950 Buick!

Next stop:  Interstate 15

Red carpet treatment!  Brandon & Dane getting the door at Primm Valley

Seven Magic Mountains in the Nevada desert

Brandon’s 1993 Legend L 6-speed coupe

MDX parked in front of Siegfried and Roy’s house in Las Vegas!  See the “SR” on the gate?

Thanks for coming along for the ride!

2017 “AutoMobility” & Los Angeles International Auto Show

Posted in California, Car Show, Legend, Road Trip, Vehicle Reviews on December 1, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  556,770

Trip Distance:  379 Miles

Greetings!  I’m jotting down a few words here from the Media Center at the Los Angeles Convention Center.  LACC is now pretty familiar turf for me, as I’ve had the opportunity to attend a number of times.  Here are write-ups from my prior LA Auto Show visits:

I had to miss 2016 due to work engagements, but I still made it to some of the social eventsRedline Reviews‘ Editor-in-Chief Sofyan Bey was kind enough to extend an invitation to me so I could be a part of the festivities this year.

After two full days about about 10 miles walked between the South Hall and the West Hall to see all the latest and greatest, I can tell you there is a lot of change brewing in the automotive industry as a whole.  Personal mobility is taking on a whole new dynamic, as technology speedily moves toward an increased focus on autonomy.  As cars become faster, safer, and more efficient, similar strides are being made in self-driving technology.  It’s no mystery, though, that I’m a driver.  Is “automobility” something I should dread or embrace?

My trek to LA started on Tuesday afternoon from Phoenix in the Legend coupe.  It’s a tried and true road warrior, and certainly a more comfortable cruiser than the 1992 Integra I drove to Utah last weekend for Thanksgiving.  The closer I got to the epicenter of the 13-million-resident LA metro area, the more congested my beautiful open roads became.  I was delayed about 35 minutes on I-10 nearing Riverside thanks to a combination of accident + commuter traffic.  Gotta love it.  In all, the 379-mile one-way trip took me close to 7 hours.

Wednesday was a jam-packed day of press conferences, kicking off with a BMW presentation around 8:30 and a stampede of journalists migrating from one booth to the next throughout the day.  Some of the big news this year?  Oh just a few highlights that stuck out to me:  Lexus coming out with a 3-row RX SUV.  BMW launching a convertible i8 and new M5.  Mercedes has a new CLS.  Mazda’s next-generation 6 sedan is out.  Subaru has launched its biggest SUV yet, a 3-rower called the Ascent.  Nissan’s “Kicks” replaces the Juke, and Hyundai has its own new cute-ute called the Kona.

600 horsepower, all-wheel-drive BMW?  Hotness.  Not to mention that color.

Jeep’s Wrangler comes back again looking about the same but with a completely new chassis and lots more tech.  Kia debuts its new Sorento, Infiniti shows the QX50, and Lincoln ditches its alphanumeric naming conventions for traditional names like its new Nautilus (replacing the MKX).  That’s a step in the right direction, don’t you all agree?  It was a slow-ish show for Honda & Acura, with no formal press conferences but still plenty to look at inside the respective booths.  I can’t begin to squeeze two full days of automotive news into a few paragraphs here, but check out Redline’s YouTube playlist on the auto show for a glimpse at some of the sights and sounds we enjoyed.

The vehicles on display at LAAS are only part of the appeal of the event.  It attracts some of the world’s renowned auto journalists.  Our team ended up seated in the Media Center right behind most of the Jalopnik staff, including Andrew Collins who I can thank for this awesome piece he put together about a year ago.

The after-hours activities this year were just as entertaining, with a Hyundai-sponsored party the first evening at Novo night club, and a social event in West Hollywood the following night at Doheny Room where I connected with a few fellow journalists.  All too soon, it was time to again part ways with those colleagues.  The Redline team flew out Friday morning and I made my way (90 minutes to drive 38 miles – thanks again, LA!) toward Anaheim for a car show to be held Saturday morning.  More on that to come in a future post!

Acura booth with the redesigned 2018 RLX on display

Don’t mind if I do hang out here!

I admired some of Honda’s hardware while in the booth.  These dozen or more awards are just from this year’s LA Auto Show alone!  There are boxes and boxes of things like this sitting at the corporate office in Torrance.

Fellow car geeks Brian and Chris

Some of you may recognize this ‘other’ Brian – none other than the famous Brian Cooley from CNET.

Quick shot with the Redline team (Sofyan, Peace, Rob) and Honda’s Davis Adams.

Street parking the coupe in West Hollywood!

This might just be the best motel parking space I’ve ever had.  Huge.

Bonus:  A few pics from last weekend’s Thanksgiving trip to Utah

Brother’s redoing his living room and said I could park in it.  Why not?

My nephew Locke

Cruising around some of my old stomping grounds

HUGE shout-out to blog reader Eric who had this custom embroidered Polo shirt made up for me, with the date of my 555 milestone from back in October!  Thanks, Eric!

Over and out!