Tag Archives: Japanese Cars

Lexus LC 500 Review: Lexus Has Finally Found Their Form

Lexus LC 500 Review 8

Luxury isn’t about needs, luxury is about wants, or rather, desires. Practical concerns come second to delivering a highly remarkable experience. A luxury object is an art form, and it must appeal deeply to human emotion, even at the expense of being practical or being objectively inane.

The upscale part of Toyota, Lexus has always been extremely focused on delivering on practical concerns. They have the best reputation for build quality in the entire industry, and their cars have always been solid. A Lexus has always been a nice and dependable way to get around, but they never really rose above being just a well-polished transportation appliance. They never evoked any sort of deep carnal desire, or had a sense of occasion that made you want to go out and drive just for the hell of it.

Since 2008, Lexus has been taking serious steps to spice up their brand and make themselves a player in the true luxury segment. It’s a marketplace where people want something genuinely special, not just a Camry fitted with leather and wood. Lexus needed to define their own unique experience, and boy have they made moves in the years since.

This is the new Lexus LC 500, and it just might be the best GT car you can buy for $100 grand.

Continue reading Lexus LC 500 Review: Lexus Has Finally Found Their Form

Advertisements

The mighty little Autozam AZ1 at the Misselwood Concours

Autozam AZ1 Misselwood 10

When you tell someone you drive a turbocharged mid engined sports car with gullwing doors, they may expect you to roll up in a Pagani Huayra. Imagine the look of surprise on their face when you roll up in this, an Autozam AZ1, instead.

It’s part of an interesting Japanese segment known as a kei cars, or “light cars.” The segment included other passenger vehicles like vans and such, but the Autozam AZ1 was a kei sports car.

Autozam was sold as a sub-brand of Mazda, but the AZ1 had a turbocharged 657cc Suzuki engine under it’s hood. It makes 64hp and 63 ft/lbs of torque, but that’s not actually too bad in a car weighing only 1,500lbs. It’s the gullwing go kart of your wildest dreams.

Despite being a small bite of awesome today, the Autozam AZ1 was not successful in its day. It launched in 1992, right as a recession was taking hold in Japan, and the AZ1 was seen as too expensive for its market segment. As a result, only 4,392 Autozam AZ1s were built, making it the rarest of the kei sports cars out there.

It certainly has a lot of flavor, and who doesn’t love those gullwing doors? It’s a proper bite sized exotic!

Enjoy the photos!

Continue reading The mighty little Autozam AZ1 at the Misselwood Concours

Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Review: My Next Daily Driver?

Honda Civic Hatchback Sport 1

I’m starting to consider options for replacing my Volkswagen CC as my practical daily driver, and I’ve had numerous people tell me to try out the new turbocharged Honda Civic.

Now before any of you scream “Civic Si” or “Civic Type R” at the screen, just know that I need an automatic here because my girlfriend, Gab, needs to be able to drive the car. I have my Miata and my STI when I want to shift my own gears. Also, the mighty Type R is vastly out of my budget for this move.

I’m not going too deep into financials, but I’m considering a lease that would be the same or less than what I currently pay on my CC. I also want a car that is realistically capable of touching 40 MPG when I’m cruising.

So, automatic, 40 MPG capable, and a relatively cheap monthly payment. Sounds like driving excitement may not really be a factor here, right? The options are certainly limited, but the new Civic Hatchback Sport quickly captured my interest when shopping around. I’d heard some great things about the new 1.5L turbocharged engine, and it seemed like Honda had made the Hatchback Sport model a junior Si, of sorts.

I figured if I was going to try out the new Civic, I might as well try the one most likely to catch my interest. The 1.5L Turbo is available on all the Civic models, but the Sport would have the tighter handling and the sport exhaust, which would make it more my kind of car.

So, after work, I went to go check it out, and see if the Civic Hatchback Sport was the “8/10ths Civic Si” I was hoping it would be.

Continue reading Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Review: My Next Daily Driver?

Mazda FD RX-7 with a dirty little secret at the CF Charities Supercar Show

RX-7 Front

When it comes to the Mazda RX-7, the final generation is the one I seem to gravitate to. I can’t explain why. Perhaps its the “forbidden fruit” aspect of it, since they are not often seen out in the wild. Or, perhaps its the fact that it seems to be right no matter if it still packs its original twin-turbo Wankel powerplant, or some sort of Chevrolet LS engine. Both engines fit this car’s styling almost too well. This one seems to pack an LS1 out of a Corvette and the swap is as clean as they come. Enjoy the photos. Continue reading Mazda FD RX-7 with a dirty little secret at the CF Charities Supercar Show

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI Spotted in Greenwich, CT

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution XI 3

We spotted this member of the JDM royal family on the street in Greenwich, CT during concours weekend. I always love seeing cars that aren’t supposed to be on US roads out and about on US roads, and the Evo VI was never sold here. Let’s face it, it’s more fun when you bend the rules.

Enjoy!

Continue reading Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI Spotted in Greenwich, CT

Some Highlights From the CF Charities Supercar Show in Philadelphia

Lamborghini Aventador

We attended the CF Charities Supercar Show at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia this weekend. This was the first year for the event in Philly, and we liked the new venue a lot. There were some truly incredible cars, and there’s a lot more to come, but here are some highlights for starters.

Enjoy!

Continue reading Some Highlights From the CF Charities Supercar Show in Philadelphia

Motor Trend’s very honest look at the new Lexus LC500

I’m a big fan of the new Lexus LC 500, but we all need to remember that it’s not a high performance F model, at least not yet. This is the best review I’ve seen yet.

Also, it weighs a hell of a lot more than I expected, almost 4,400 lbs. I hope they find a way to take some weight out when they do make the F version.

Enjoy!

-Nick

Am I the only one who likes the idea of a Jeep Renegade-like Toyota FJ?

toyota-ft-4x_concept-2017-1280-04

This is the Toyota FT-4X Concept, and it’s a clear hint that Toyota may be developing a small FJ SUV to take on the funky Jeep Renegade. A lot of people are hating on it, but I’m digging the idea a lot. I, for one, like a lot of things about the Jeep Renegade, and I think Toyota has a real opportunity to take a lot of that market. All they have to do is make a dependable small off-roader with some funky FJ style, and they will eat Jeep’s lunch.

I hope the FT-4X does make it into production, donning the FJ name when it does.

Call me the island in a sea of haters.

-Nick