Sunday, September 24, 2017

Luxury Ride on a Shoestring Budget?

                                     Review: 2017 Nissan Qashqai

Nissan’s 2017 Qashqai may be the leader of the pack when it comes to the most ‘features on a budget’ — however… luxurious? It is not.

You can get into a base model Qashqai at about $20,00, but if you want all the bells and whistles that the SL offers, you’ll be looking at somewhere around $30,000. I consider the Mazda CX-5 to be a strong competitor with this vehicle, and if you go for the top model in that class (GT) it’ll set you back about $35,000. You do the math.

Even though I don’t consider the Qashqai to be luxurious — it’s just not pampering enough, and the quality lacks in the interior and exterior features — I also don’t consider it to be a basic vehicle. This small SUV has everything that you could possibly need for a comfortable ride. And it looks good!

My likes:
  • Great stereo, Sirius radio
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Can connect your phone apps with the entertainment system
  • USB outlets (front)
  • Eco option, excellent fuel efficiency
  • Side mirror collision alert
  • Navigation directions appear in front of the driver when a turn is near, speed limit is displayed on main navigation screen, finds the fastest route based on traffic
  • Looks good, similar to the Murano in style yet an inch smaller than the Rogue 
  • Fun name; fun, smooth ride
  • Nice, comfortable, leather seats; heated front seats

My dislikes:
  • You need to download their app to use extra entertainment features, can’t just bluetooth your phone
  • Manual seat adjuster for front passenger, no USB outlet for back passengers, no heated seats for back passengers
  • No massage option for driver and front passenger
  • 1/4 sunroof — not full length of the vehicle 
  • No quick release for the trunk, you have to press the button under the trunk and physically close it (unless I missed something) — this is so old school and inconvenient
  • It’s unquestionably a 4-cylinder, no pickup
  • The back-up camera isn’t the greatest, I touched another car’s bumper and it didn’t even beep (no vehicles were damaged!)

I realize I’m much more picky than most when it comes to determining the ‘luxuriousness’ of a vehicle — so I will share that my passengers were ‘adequately impressed’ with this SUV. If you’re looking for functionality and comfort — you may want to consider the Qashqai — first, maybe figure out how to say it.

Luxury, New Car Blogger
Amanda Risser

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Lincoln Is The New Jaguar

Lincoln is giving Jaguar a ‘real’ run for their money. They’ve begun ramping up their line of luxury vehicles and the 2017 Continental is a prime example.

Visually, the exterior is a close comparison to Jaguar’s XE. Even though it’s a full-sized 4-door sedan -- the sleek, modern design manages to remove all the bulk and tricks you into thinking it’s a compact car. In fact, I had to do a double take to make sure it did indeed have 4-doors. The sleek design doesn’t stop with the exterior, inside you’ll be surprised to see “no” door handles. They’ve replaced them with a simple button. It surprised my passengers! In fact, everything surprised my passengers about this vehicle -- including the ‘library’ of controls on the door panel to control the driver’s and all passenger’s seats. I’ve never seen so many controls for a seat before! You can literally customize ever single pressure point of the seat to mold to your body. It even squeezes you in when you put it in drive. Heated seats, cooling seats, massage seats -- front and back, they’ve covered it all. By the way, the leather seats aren’t your run of the mill leather seats. They’re quite stunning and have a race car feel to them. Very much like Jaguar.

Again, like other Lincoln models the drive shift is replaced with push buttons on the left side of the navigation system. There’s a full size moonroof that can be opened midway or full length, and there’s back shade to draw when it’s sunny. All of the buttons in this vehicle may seem a little overwhelming at first, but after a 10-minute quick run through you’ll be good to go and living the life of luxury in no time!

Back to the comparison to Jaguar, the 2017 Lincoln Continental accelerates quite quickly and smoothly. It even has a bit of a growl (just a bit). I have to admit, the sound of the Jaguar really draws me in, the Continental doesn’t compare in that regard. Alright, so head-to-head here’s what you’re looking at:

2017 Lincoln Continental
  • Starting Price: $53,551
  • HP: V6, 2.7L GTDI, 335 hp  
  • Fuel Economy: 14.0L/100km city and 9.5L/100km hwy
  • 0-100km in 6.2 sec

2017 Jaguar XE Premium
  • Starting Price: $43,900
  • HP: 4-cylinder, turbocharged gas, 247 hp
  • Fuel Economy: TBD
  • 0-100km in 6.2 sec

You can easily increase Jaguar’s base price by $20,000 by adding in all the bells and whistles or upgrading to another model. It’s a tough call for me, but I’m really liking Lincoln these days and could be swayed to choose the Continental over the XE. Another plus… it may look and drive like a luxury vehicle -- but it won’t cost you a luxury price to fill it. It takes regular.

Amanda Risser
Luxury, New Car Blogger

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Road-tripping In Luxury: 2017 Lincoln MKC

I was overcome with a feeling of deja-vu when I recently got behind the wheel of the 2017 Lincoln MKC. And that’s not a bad thing, in fact, it was a great feeling! A feeling of familiarity and satisfaction. I mean, what did Lincoln need to change about the 2016 model anyway? They got it right the first time.

So here’s what’s new: standard power liftgate, standard start-stop on the front-wheel-drive, 2.0-liter EcoBoost, optional stop-start on the all-wheel-drive model, standard “auto hold”, Sync 3 with AppleCar Play and Android Auto. I always test drive the fully-loaded models, so I really didn’t notice a difference between the 2016 and 2017 - just more of what I liked the first go around including the cool setting for the front seats, heated front and back seats, parallel park assist, back-up camera and 2 USB ports.

I put the 2.3 litre EcoBoost engine to the test by taking it on a 2.5 hour summer day road trip from Toronto to Port Stanley. Haven’t been? Go! But that’s a story for another blog, let’s stay focused on the MKC. A tank of gas will get you there and back with a quarter to spare. It checks in at a healthy 285 horsepower. You really have to watch your speed, it accelerates quickly and smoothly. I love this feature - it displays the posted speed limit next to the speedometer - to keep you in check. Pair your phone with the vehicle’s SYNC system - texting and calling hands-free, problem-free. The navigation system is great even off-the-beaten path. Open up the over-sized moon roof and let the sun shine in! Everything about the Lincoln MKC is luxurious - except when it’s time to fill up, it takes regular. #winning

Starting at just under $40,000, competing in the same class as the BMW X1, Audi Q5 and Cadillac XT5 - you can’t go wrong with this CUV. It looks classy, drives smooth, has great pick-up and all the luxuries of home at your finger tips. I’m also a huge fan of the ‘Lincoln Drive Control’ - the park, drive, neutral, and start push buttons are perfectly aligned on the left side of the navigation system. Slick and organized. What’s not to love about this vehicle?!

Amanda Risser
Luxury, new car blogger