Vehicle Test Drives Part 2: 2019 New Vehicle Reviews

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Twenty-nineteen marks 29 years since I’ve been writing about new cars and trucks. The job doesn’t get any easier, especially as new technology and features continue to evolve. Over time, almost every vehicle that I test drive, becomes more appealing. If you’re in the market for a new vehicle and you’re reading this article, here are a few more of my 2019 driving impressions.

To get the best vehicle for your taste and budget, begin your research online before running into a showroom. The Fall season is the best time to strike a good deal on a 2019 model, since some dealers are still making room for their 2020 new vehicles.  Once you see a vehicle you like, then you can compare the dealer’s invoice price to the MSRP, which you can find by visiting consumer auto buying websites like www.consumerreports.org, www.edmunds.com, or www.nadaguides.com.

2019 Toyota Avalon Touring

A lot has changed since the bland looking 4-door Avalon was first introduced in 1994 to replace the Toyota Cressida. The newly designed firth- generation Avalon is stylist and has an aggressive Lexus-like interior and exterior style, which is roomy and comfortable enough for the whole family.

Toyota engineers and designers have set out to remake the character and appearance of all Toyota vehicles and the new Avalon and Camry are examples of its full-lineup facelift.

Made in Toyota’s Georgetown, Kentucky plant, the Avalon has four trim levels: XSE, Touring, XLE and Limited. They can be had in either Sport Plus or Hybrid. The 2019 Avalon Touring that I tested is powered by a 3.5- liter V6 engine that generates 301 horsepower. It is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission.

The MSRP for the 2019 model was $42,200. Price as tested was $44, 913. Also, check out the 2020 Toyota Avalon model.

2019 Lexus RX 350L SUV

Finally, Lexus added a third-row seat to its popular RX350 midsize SUV. One of the best-selling luxury SUVs in the market, the RX350 was stretched to add the 2019 Lexus RX350L to the model lineup.  Since it was first introduced in 1999, the 2019 RX is now in its fourth generation.

The RX models include the base RX350 and the RX450 Hybrid with an electric motor. A performance F Sport model is also available. All trim levels are powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that generates 290 horsepower and is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Both offer front and all-wheel-drive (AWD), while the hybrid only comes in AWD.

Lexus continues to upgrade is bread and butter model to maintain its competitiveness and reputation for combining the size of an SUV with the drive performance of a car. The MSRP for the base RX350L starts at $49,170. The fully-loaded model I tested ended up with a $60,858 price tag.

2019 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design

The 2019 Volvo S60 is one of the most impressive vehicles I’ve driven. It’s hard to believe that Volvo is manufactured by a Chinese-owned company named Geely Motors, which brought it from Ford when the company was in serious trouble.

Driving one of the new Volvos will erase any doubt about whether Geely could revive the Swedish brand. Today, the company is doing better than anytime in its history and competing with other European brands. The new XC90 SUV and now the S60 are prefect examples of Volvo’s successful resurrection.

Driving the new S60 is like driving a spaceship, although I ‘ve never driving one. But its like that.  Volvo has moved further away from the boxy look to a more premium luxury style, comfort and performance.

In designing the interior, Volvo took the S60 to new levels of Swedish design. You can feel the power and smoothness of the ride along with the artistic and luxurious interior surroundings. Interior designers went all out in combining textured materials and rich accents throughout the cabin.

The sporty 2019 T6 R-Design AWD, is positioned between the base Momentum and the luxury Inscription trims. It is powered by a 2.0-liter Super and Turbo charged direct injection engine that generates 316 horsepower. It is paired with an 8-speed transmission.

The S60 I tested came loaded with an array of safety, technology and convenient features found in other premium luxury competitors. The base MSRP is $40,300 without the R-Design and Advanced packages, which took the test vehicle up to $55,490.