Henry Payne Blog

Cartoon: Obamacare and the Middle Class

Posted by hpayne on August 26, 2016

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Cartoon: Trump Flip Immigration

Posted by hpayne on August 26, 2016

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Cartoon: Oregon Carbon Free

Posted by hpayne on August 26, 2016

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Payne review: Porsche dials up the 911 Turbo

Posted by hpayne on August 25, 2016

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When Jeep does a media test program they take us to places like Hollister Hills State Vehicular Recreation Area south of San Francisco, a sort of boot camp for cars. We tortured a Renegade there last year off sandy cliffs, over rocks and through a cement mixer of water and mud. The subcompact crossover is that tough, even if Joe Suburbia never takes it off asphalt.

When Porsche wants to introduce a new 911 Turbo, they take us to remote locations like Thunderhill Raceway Park north of Sacramento. In August. In 103-degree heat. It’s the “Willows” ramp off Interstate 5, the exit right before “The Fires of Hades.”

Over four hours, we flogged Stuttgart’s latest through four 20-minute sessions over one of the longest (4.6 miles), most punishing closed race courses in North America. This is production car abuse (by comparison, I do three, 20-minute sessions over seven hours in my purpose-built Porsche 906 race car on a typical race day).

Why? So Joe Suburbia knows that his $200,000 Porsche is as fast and reliable as they say it is. Even if the only course it ever comes near is a golf course.

As if 18 LeMans endurance victories weren’t enough proof, Porsche engineers the fastest, most durable sports cars on the planet. And everything they have ever learned is wrapped in a rocketship labeled internally as version 991.2.

The world will know it as the 2017 911 Turbo and Turbo S.

Since its debut in 1973, the Turbo has had the mostest: the most horsepower, most technology, most drivability of any 911. On Thunderhill it didn’t disappoint. Like the 911 Carrera on which it is based, Turbo feels smaller than its 3,527 pounds. Credit German engineering that brews this masterpiece with a tried-and-true recipe: fast-back shape, rear-mounted boxer 6-cylinder, and a rear track wider than a 747.

Then add the latest spices, like a standard all-wheel drive system that rotates the car’s mass through corners with rear-wheel steering. The payoff comes at exit, when you floor — yes, floor — the 3.8-liter engine and all four paws channel its 540-horsepower (580 in the Turbo S) for launch to the next corner. At Thunderhill, I hit 140 mph on the short front straight.

This AWD grip is surely part of what’s driving the mid-engine Corvette’s developmentbecause the horsepower arms race shows no sign of letting up. With 650 ponies at its disposal, Chevy needs to move its engine rearward so the front wheels can help manage all that grunt. In the rear-wheel-drive ’Vette, power application can be a hairy enterprise.

In the Turbo it’s pure joy.

Of course, bringing nearly two tons of fury to heel isn’t easy. The Turbo S options massive, 16-inch front carbon-ceramic rotors to do the job. You’ll know them by their yellow six-pot Brembo calipers. And $9,210 price tag. The Turbo’s standard steel rotors are just fine, thank you very much, showing no sign of fade under my 20-minute whippings.

Frankly, if you’re going to put a Porsche through regular track torture, you’ll want a 911 GT-3 RS or the mid-engine Cayman GT4. These nimbler track rats weigh 400-500 pounds less than the Turbo.

But even if the Turbo never sees a track, it packs plenty of thrills for the street.

Begin with “SPORT Response,” an unassuming little button within the Driving Mode dial on the steering wheel. Pushing it unleashes the Hounds of Hell.

Its purpose is akin to IndyCar Racing’s “push-to-pass” mode which boosts horsepower for 10-second passing bursts. In the 911 Turbo, SPORT Response primes the drivetrain for 20 seconds of maximum performance.

Luffing along on the road to Thunderhill, I encountered a conga line of slow traffic. Pressed the button. The automatic tranny instantly dropped from seventh to third gear. Revs spiked to 5,000 rpm. I stomped the throttle and the car shot forward like a greased torpedo. FOOOOMP! I was past the line doing a million miles an hour — and well before my 20 seconds was used up.

Try this in normal driving mode and you’ll feel a moment’s hesitation as the tranny downshifts. In SPORT Response there is no delay, no drivetrain interruption at all. A Porsche engineer explained how this is possible. I didn’t understand a word. Let’s just say it’s Black Magic. And very addictive.

Did I mention the Turbo no longer offers a manual gearshift option? You won’t miss it.

Computer-driven tech like SPORT Response is only possible with modern, lightning-quick, dual-clutch PDK (PDQ would be more appropriate) trannies like that in the Turbo. Sub-100 millisecond gear changes propel the lag-less Turbo from 0-60 mph in a breathtaking 2.6 seconds.

That’s Tesla Ludicrous Mode-like acceleration — but with 430-mile range.

On track I love to row a manual box. But Porsche’s computer is smarter — never missing a shift, never selecting a wrong gear. PDK allows you to concentrate on your line. Off-track, the Turbo is a pussycat — a whisper-quiet, roomy, all-wheel daily driver that will even cut through Michigan snow drifts.

No wonder Porsche race star Hurley Haywood, who led us around Thunderhill at a smart clip, says the 2017 Turbo is the best 911 he’s ever driven.

“And I thought the last generation, 991.1, couldn’t get any better,” the Daytona- and LeMans-winning driver says. “But on the last gen you could feel the rear-drive steering jerk you into a corner, while in the new car it’s seamless.”

You sense some relief in the 68-year old’s voice after driving — and surviving — Porsche race cars for the last 50 years. Including the legendary, 1,100-horsepower, 1973 Porsche 917. “That car was scary,” he concedes.

With all this engineering bravado in the 911 Turbo, I scratch my head at what’s missing in this $200,000 jewel: No voice recognition, no proper cup holders (they still flop out from the dash). Manual transmission aside, these are Porsche’s stubborn nods to tradition. No buttons on the steering column (SPORT Response button is at the end of a stalk). No storage on the console (performance buttons only). No starter button (left key required).

In the $200,000 supercar toy department — McLaren 570, Audi R8 V10, Acura NSX — 911’s tradition is its reputation. The others may look and sound more exotic, but Porsche is betting that after 20 minutes the old lion will still be King of Thunderhill.

VEHICLE TYPE REAR-ENGINE, ALL-WHEEL DRIVE,

FOUR-PASSENGER SPORTS CAR

Power plant 3.8-liter, twin-turbo flat 6-cylinder
Transmission Seven-speed, dual-clutch PDK automatic
Weight 3,527 pounds (Turbo S as tested)
Price $160,250 ($192,310 Turbo S as tested)
Power 540 horsepower, 486 pound-feet torque

(Turbo); 580 horsepower, 516 pound-feet

torque (Turbo S)

Performance 0-60 mph, 2.6 seconds (Car and Driver);

top speed: 205 mph

Fuel economy EPA 19 mpg city/21 mpg highway/24 mpg combined

report card

HIGHS  

RIDICULOUS ACCELERATION; PUSH-TO-PASS SPORT

RESPONSE MODE

Lows  

No place to put your phone; I wouldn’t trust those

flimsy cupholders at 1-plus G-loads

Overall:★★★★

Cartoon: Hillary, Colin Powell and email

Posted by hpayne on August 24, 2016

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Cartoon: Rio Olympics and Black Americans

Posted by hpayne on August 24, 2016

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Cartoon:Floods and Obama’s Schedule

Posted by hpayne on August 24, 2016

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CARtoon: Jaguar SUV

Posted by hpayne on August 23, 2016

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Cartoon: Hillary Lochte Ticket

Posted by hpayne on August 23, 2016

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Cartoon: Bolt Xmen

Posted by hpayne on August 19, 2016

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Cartoon: Make Trump Great

Posted by hpayne on August 18, 2016

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New classics for the Woodward Dream Cruise

Posted by hpayne on August 17, 2016

 

It’s time to head back to Woodward for our annual Dream Cruise reunion. This year’s featured class is 1990 which, after 26 years, is eligible for historic plate status under Michigan law. Most states celebrate the quarter-century mark, but we Michiganians are different (or just can’t count).

When I celebrated my 30th college reunion a couple of years back, time had taken its toll: Some classmates were notable for their loss of hair. Still others hadn’t changed a bit, their youthful figures still turning heads.

Some names I didn’t recognize. (We went to school together?) Some had kids who already had graduated from college.

So it is with our 26th-reunion class.

Some names we’ve forgotten. Geo? Who made you again? The Miata family is in its fourth generation. And Corvette ZR-1, dude, you’re as hot as ever.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Class of 1990.

Cars built in 1990 are now eligible for historic plate

Chevy Corvette ZR-1

This was the class’ star athlete. It made the girls swoon. If cars were barred for performance-enhancing drugs, the ZR-1 never would have made it. With bigger glutes to accommodate huge rear rubber, a performance suspension and a 375-horsepower engine supplied by Lotus, the ZR-1 was all-everything. And at $58,995 is cost double a base ‘Vette.

Redesigned for 1990, the 18½-foot long, V-8-powered

Lincoln Town Car

The Academy Award-nominated “Driving Miss Daisy” was a cultural phenomenon in 1990, so it’s only appropriate that Lincoln’s best-selling chauffeur-mobile got a major redesign. With sleeker styling, the 181/2-foot-long, V-8 powered land yacht was Motor Trend’s 1990 Car of the Year. Two bench seats! Six-passenger seating! Four-speaker AM/FM stereo with cassette player! Ah, the days when full-size sedans were king. Town Car sold a staggering 120,000 units in 1990 — five times more than today’s lux class-leading Mercedes S-Class.

 

The 1990 Mazda MX-5 Miata was a throwback to the British

Mazda MX-5 Miata

Here we jump from 221-inch ocean liner to 155-inch skiff. The Miata was made in Japan but made for America. The pet project of American journalist-turned-product-planner Bob Hall, the MX-5 was a throwback to the British roadsters of the 1960s. Nimble and topless, the Miata was an instant hit. Unlike the rest of us oldsters, the Miata hasn’t gained weight over two-and-a-half decades. The fourth-gen car — just 2,332 pounds — weighs nearly the same as the original.

A year after the slinky Reatta was introduced, Buick

Buick Reatta convertible

A year after the slinky Reatta was introduced, Buick dropped its top. The limited-edition, V-6 powered Reatta was always destined to be a Dream Cruiser classic. The convertible was even rarer with just 2,437 copies sold (65 of them were “Select Sixty” models with white skin and flaming red interiors). It would be the last Buick convertible until this year’s striking, Opel-based Buick Cascada.

Toyota's luxury brand Lexus debuted in 1990 with the

Lexus LS400

Toyota’s luxury brand debuted in 1990 with the full-sized LS. This big, juicy, premium steak was prepared just as luxury customers wanted — lush interior, big-cube V-8, air suspension — but for a fraction of the cost of comparable European dishes. It looked a Mercedes, but its customer service was second to none. Attentive service spawned urban legends of dealer agents walking 500 miles over hot coals for their customers. The flagship sedan has since lost its mojo, as the Lexus RX SUV has become the brand’s dominant seller – and signature vehicle.

Like Toyota, Nissan dove into the luxury pool with

nfiniti Q45

Like Toyota, Nissan dove into the luxury pool with its own brand. But unlike Lexus’s swan dive, Infiniti did a belly flop. The Q45 was much more daring than Lexus, less derivative in design. Infiniti chose to debut the car with ads never showing the actual automobile. Its antiseptic interior was clean of coveted design elements like wood trim. It’s a pity, because the car was a technical tour de force: It came with a class-leading, 278-horse, 4.5-liter V-6 and innovative details like rear-wheel steering and an active suspension that read the contours of the road for a smoother ride.

Updating the 300ZX for the 1990 model year, Nissan

Plymouth Laser/Eagle Talon

Remember those 1990 class lovebirds, Chrysler and Mitsubishi? Well, the pair got hitched and birthed a Diamond-Star family of identical triplets: Eagle Talon, Mitsubishi Eclipse and Plymouth Laser. Only the Mitsubishi would survive the decade, but the Eagle was the athlete of the litter, winning the SCCA Touring Car championship in 1990 and 1991. Priced affordably (the equivalent of $25K-$35K today), the top-trim, turbocharged Talon/Laser/Eclipse was a rocketship with 195 ponies and all-wheel drive handling.

In 1990 Chrysler and Mitsubishi collaborated on a Diamond-Star

Nissan 300 ZX

Nissan designers penned one of the sexiest, most revered shapes in the market when they updated the 300ZX for the 1990 model year. The arched rocker panels alone caused grown men’s knees to buckle with desire. Sporting two engine options — 220-horse V-6 or 300-horse twin-turbo — the low-slung coupe was as quick as it was good-looking. Car and Driver gave it high honors with a place on the annual Top 10 list.

The successor to the sporty Sirocco, the wedge-shaped

VW Corrado

The successor to the sporty Scirocco, the wedge-shaped Corrado coupe was a stunner. Its muscular physique, unique rear spoiler (which deployed at speeds over 50 mph) and peppy, 138-horse supercharged engine made it one spicy heisse wurst. But customers balked at the V-dub’s high price. For the 1992 model year, it was stuffed with a 187-horse V-6, causing Car magazine to call the Corrado of “25 Cars You Must Drive Before You Die.”

 

Under pressure to sell small cars profitably in the

Geo Prizm

This wee sardine can is hardly a classic cruiser, but there’s a neat twist if you’ll bear with me. Under pressure to sell small cars profitably in the U.S. market, GM teamed with Toyota in 1990 to produce the Prizm in their joint-venture NUMMI plant in Fremont, California. A quarter-century later, the fuel-sipping Geo badge is gone as Americans still resist small cars. And the NUMMI plant? It’s been converted by Tesla to produce its future-classic Model S electric car.

The TVR Griffith -- now eligible for U.S. import after

TVR Griffith

While American cars become eligible for historic plates after 26 years, U.S. law also grants status to American-illegal cars when they turn 25. Cars like the TVR Griffith — which never satisfied America’s onerous federal regulations — are now legal to be driven on U.S. roads. A classic English badge, the lightweight, fiberglass-bodied, 240-horse TVR was a rocket in a straight line, and a handful in the twisties. Look for this outsider crashing the Woodward class party.

 

Cartoon: Obama and Louisiana Floods

Posted by hpayne on August 17, 2016

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Payne: Best college car

Posted by hpayne on August 13, 2016

A new car will depreciate 60 percent after four years.

Cars mark milestones in our lives: The car you got your license in as a teen. Your first family carrier when you had kids. Your mid-life crisis Camaro ZL1 that got you a fat ticket on Woodward (remember that one?).

For many, August means finding the right car to go back to college.

After the emotional family trip your freshman year — the tears, the hugs, the goodbyes — sophomore year begins an annual routine. You’re on your own. Time to have your own car and make the trip back yourself. The car represents freedom, but also expense.

You imagine rolling up to campus in a brand new, yellow Mustang convertible — V-6 purring, shades on. But will all your stuff fit in the trunk? Will your three pals fit in the back seat? And what was that sticker price again? Thirty-three grand?

(Cough.) Not on top of what the parents are paying in tuition, you’re not.

Welcome to Econ 101. College wheels are a lesson in cost management and utility. Shopping starts in the USED section. Save the new car for later. The truth is new vehicles on average depreciate by 20 percent their first year off the lot according to Carfax.com — and 60 percent over four years.

Talk about a lousy investment. So buy used. But be reasonable about it.

My college roommate bought his first car in August 1985 with $100 he had saved from his summer job. It was an old Fiat with more miles on it that the Space Shuttle. He drove it 200 miles to Princeton University from Virginia that August, unloaded his stuff in our room, then coaxed it — wheezing and wobbling — to a nearby garage to get it serviced.

The grizzled mechanic took one look at the Italian lemon, turned to my 19-year old roomie and said: “Son, you’re lucky to be alive.”

Happily, 200,000 miles is the new 100,000. So if you can find a 5-year-old-plus car with less than 100,000 miles on the odometer, chances are you’ll get a good buy for under $10,000.

There’s a school of thought among parents that their kids should drive around in tanks for safety in the case of an accident (likely with another kid in a tank). But I come from a different school: If you’re a competent, defensive driver, a smaller car allows you to avoid contact in the first place. Case in point — at the busy Tel-Twelve interchange on the Lodge Freeway a few years back, a hulking SUV cut across three lanes (seized by a sudden Big Mac attack, perhaps?) to exit onto Telegraph Road — and right across my bow. Driving a nimble Ford Focus ZX3 hatch (ultimately the college car for both my boys), I took violent avoidance action and emerged unscathed.

If I had been in a large SUV, I would have been on my roof. Or worse.

Compact hatches are also affordable. A Ford Focus or Mazda 3 hatchback, Honda Fit, Toyota Prius or VW Golf all meet my under-100,000 miles/$10,000 ticker criteria. They are also thrifty daily drivers for tight student budgets — and will sound attractive to tuition-shocked parents when you go to them on bended knees for one more college expense.

A 2011 Honda Fit, for example, will get over 30 mpg and require minimal maintenance. Look for a used, mid-sized, 30-mpg-sipping Honda Pilot SUV for under $10K and you’d have a better chance finding a unicorn.

Yeah, I know, millennials dig SUVs just like everyone else. And, says Chevy marketing guru Steve Majoros, crossovers are no longer just for soccer moms now that a new generation of subcompact utes is peppering vehicles lots: Chevy Trax, Fiat 500X, Jeep Renegade. But good luck finding those newbies for less than $10K.

Five-door compacts offer the same utility at less cost. All you give up is a few inches off the ground. That’s right, the days of the underpowered compact are over.

I didn’t have a car in college (a West Virginia native, I was lucky to have shoes), but the future Mrs. Payne did. Her used, loaded-with-college-stuff BMW 318 sedan and its paltry 98 horses barely made it over Pennsylvania’s mountains on her way to school.

That five-door, four-year-old Honda Fit/Focus/Golf beats the Bimmer by 20-60 horsepower and will climb interstate mountains like a billy goat. It’ll also fit your belongings. And your three college pals. And go from Ann Arbor to home and back on a couple of gallons of gas.

Cartoon: ISIS Intelligence and Obama

Posted by hpayne on August 12, 2016

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Cartoon: Trump Hillary Olympics

Posted by hpayne on August 12, 2016

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Cartoon: Hillary Stronger Together

Posted by hpayne on August 12, 2016

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Payne: Sedan sirens, Buick LaCrosse and Jaguar XJL

Posted by hpayne on August 11, 2016

Two rejuvenated brands are turning heads this year

The heck with big sport utilities.

Those breadboxes on wheels have taken over our automotive kingdom. Boxy and brawny, they have become Americans’ vehicle of choice. Don’t get me wrong, I get it. Their utility is undeniable. They efficiently swallow families and their stuff. They give soccer moms visual command of the landscape. They assist senior citizens with an easy step up rather than a back-breaking stoop down. And they provide NBA-friendly room for sharp elbows and tall knees.

Utility? You bet. But sport? I mean, even Porsche can’t make a car jacked a foot in the air feel like a Porsche. There’s no denying physics. And stick a fifth door on anything and it’s going to look like a box. There are some lovely beaks out there, from the Maserati Lavante’s trident grill to the Mazda CX’9’s sunny smile. But you’ll never hear anyone talk about a ute’s gorgeous glutes. Or curvy hips.

SUVs are from Mars, sedans are from Venus.

For those who want beauty and athleticism in a large vehicle, there will always be sedans. Sedans may be down and out on dealer lots, but their inherent grace and feminine lines are still the benchmark for automotive style. Speaking of down and out, two rejuvenated old brands are turning heads this year with stunning full-size sedans that bookend the luxury segment: The entry-lux 2017 Buick LaCrosse and top-of-the-line 2016 Jaguar XJL.

With its stunning, much-copied lines, the XJL has helped re-establish Jaguar as luxury’s premier beauty. At the cheaper end of the lux menu, the LaCrosse manages to rekindle the spirit of the era when Buick wowed the world with designs like the 1954 Wildcat.

Few will lament the passing of the old LaCrosse. Heavy, arthritic and bulbous, it did little to shake the brand’s reputation as a purveyor of land yachts. Happily, however, Buick caught the SUV wave at just the right time, riding the fresh Enclave and Encore to sales glory. Buick has dominated the small-ute class with the perky and innovative Encore. That’s right — I just used innovative, dominated and perky in the same sentence as Buick.

SUV success has given the sedans a chance to get their act together and the all-new LaCrosse doesn’t disappoint.

It’s the first GM product built on the Epsilon II platform — E2 for short — and like other new GM platforms from Chevy and Caddy, it’s been hitting the gym. E2 lost 150 pounds from its predecessor, part of a 300-pound diet that has made LaCrosse a fit 3,650 pounds. Leaner and meaner, the lower-by-1.3 inches, more athletic-looking LaCrosse gained 2.7 inches in wheelbase, 1.3 inches in width.

Combined with a new five-link rear suspension (usually found in more upscale lux athletes like BMW) and a torque-vectoring, GKN-developed, dual-clutch all-wheel drive system (usually found in track-tuners like the Ford Focus RS), the LaCrosse delivers superb handling for a big car.

It’s startling, really. Like those Snickers commercials starring Betty White, it’s as if your granny’s Buick ate a candy bar and transformed into a 200-pound football player. Or, more appropriately in this case, a 200-pound lacrosse middie. Compared to class competitors like Lexus ES350 or Nissan Maxima, the Buick is more aligned with Maxima’s athletic DNA.

Over curvy Route 47 northwest of Portland, Oregon, I found the Buick fun through the twisties (fun and Buick — in the same sentence!), rotating with minimal body roll before putting the 305-horse, 3.6-liter V6’s hammer down. Try that in the boaty Lexus and you’ll get seasick.

But the real achievement of the LaCrosse is that’s it’s turned the clock back and made Buick pretty again. Buick actually rented out space in Portland’s artsy Pearl District to show off her curves.

Dash lines are sleek — check out the chrome bezel under the console that runs uninterrupted from instrument panel to passenger door. Out front, Buick’s winged grill — first seen at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show on the Avenir concept — accentuates the car’s lower, more horizontal lines. Those signature, old-school, boat-worthy Buick portholes? They have mercifully been demoted from the hood to aft of the front fender wells. The new Buick is all about wings.

The Buick even has Jaguar-esque lines. The LaCrosse’s coupe-like roof line, cat-eye headlights and full-mouthed grille echo the English cat. Initial design sketches even contained similar rocker panel chrome to the XJL (scrubbed in the final version, perhaps for cost).

To get the full Jaguar effect, it’ll cost you. About double the LaCrosse, actually.

The elegant $89,820 (as tested) XJL is the biggest, sleekest cat in the Jaguar litter. It’s the stretched version of the lovely, full-size XJ sedan introduced in 2012. Like Margot Robbie in heels, the XJL’s long proportions make it looked even sexier, tapered roof flowing into sleek haunches.

The Jaguar gets the expected royal-lux touches for 2016 — “double-J” daytime running lights, doors that suck close, rotary dial rising out of the dash at ignition. In practice, the Jaguar’s simpler dial blows away the LaCrosse’s finicky monostable doo-hickey. Yet Buick holds its own, even providing clever sub-console space that the Jag lacks, though to be honest I was so transfixed by the Jaguar’s front and rear camera system (giving you a bumper’s eye view of the road fore and aft while driving) that I didn’t mind its lack of Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. That popular feature comes standard (ahem) not only in the LaCrosse, but in entry-level compacts like the Chevy Cruze.

Beauty has its drawbacks, and the Jaguar’s rear visibility is dreadful compared to the Buick. Interestingly, in China, where big sedans routinely come with a driver, LaCrosse’s rear seats get Jag-like touches with heating, cooling and a shoe shine (and I’m making that last one up).

Stateside, though, the Jaguar XJL’s back seats are a world unto themselves. Lounging in diamond-quilted soft leather, passengers get their own window-blind controls and their own moon-roof controls.

Dah-ling — let me know when we have arrived at the club. I’ll be sunbathing on the back deck.

Yet the driver’s seat, like the LaCrosse, is a place to get your heart racing. The Jag is a 340-horse-drawn AWD locomotive.

Jaguar has lately gotten into the SUV game with the F-Pace, a fat cat that will ring up profits like a cash register on wheels. But no matter how successful Jag and Buick SUVs, their flagship cars will turn your head. Long live the sedan.

2017 Buick LaCrosse

Specifications

Vehicle type: Front-engine, front- or all-wheel drive, five-passenger sedan

Price: $32,990 ($48,575 AWD Premium as tested)

Power plant: 3.6-liter V-6

Power: 305 horsepower, 268 pound-feet torque

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic

Performance: 0-60 mph, 6.0 seconds (Car and Driver); top speed: 145 mph

Weight: 3,840 pounds (AWD as tested)

Fuel economy: EPA 21 mpg city/31 mpg highway/23 mpg combined (AWD as tested)

Report card

Highs: Sleek Buicks are back; road-hugging, AWD handling (that’s not a misprint)

Lows: Clunky monostable shifter; how about a sport version?

Overall:★★★

2016 Jaguar XJL

Specifications

Vehicle type: Front-engine, rear- or all-wheel drive, five-passenger sedan

Price: $74,400 base XJ ($89,820 XJL as tested)

Power plant: 3.0-liter, supercharged, dual-overhead cam V-6

Power: 340 horsepower, 332 pound-feet torque

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic

Performance: 0-60 mph, 5.1 seconds (Car and Driver); top speed: 124 mph (governed)

Weight: 4,397 pounds (AWD as tested)

Fuel economy: EPA 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway/20 combined

Report card

Highs: Timeless beauty; posh rear seat

Lows: Infotainment average; blind spots the size of Wyoming

Overall:★★★

Cartoon: Phelps Gold

Posted by hpayne on August 10, 2016

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Cartoon: Hillary State Sale

Posted by hpayne on August 10, 2016

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