- by Kristin Shaw
- December 6th, 2016
Have you ever seen one of those commercials in which someone wakes up on Christmas morning with a new car in the driveway, complete with a giant red bow? If you’re thinking about making that dream a reality, consider one of these stellar options on the market now. And know that if you’re ever in an accident in one of these dream cars, we’ll be standing by to help make it as good as new again.
Infiniti 2017 Q60 – starts at $38,950
If you’re looking for a smooth, effortless luxury drive with the ability to hit 60 mph in about five seconds flat, the Q60 is your vehicle. The 2017 model weighs in at about 3,900 pounds with rear wheel drive, and peak torque comes in around 1,600 rpm. The translation for that is quick, power takeoffs from a complete stop. Infiniti says the Q60 will hit 62 mph in 5 seconds.
This model’s appeal, however, is not just the speed, it’s the feel of the drive. With seemingly effortless power, the Q60 has a new two-mode adaptive suspension system, which Infiniti calls Digital Dynamic Suspension. This monitors body roll, pitch, and bounce rate, and continuously adjusts to ensure your car’s ride is as smooth as it can be.
Infiniti is serious about challenging the BMW 4-series with the Q60, and it doesn’t mess around. This model replaces the G37 coupe, which endured for eight years, its last two with the Q60 model name. Pricing for the Q60 will follow its sedan counterpart, which puts the four-cylinder models around $40,000, and the 400-hp Red Sport models closer to $60,000.
Lexus 2017 RX450 – starts at $43,020
RX continues to be a best-selling Lexus model, and for 2017, the RX450 five-passenger SUV hybrid will not disappoint. It includes a continuously variable automatic transmission and electric motors and nickel-metal hydride battery that work with the V-6. You might be surprised at the zippy acceleration of this hybrid; it is a smooth ride with all the luxury features Lexus is known for.
The 2017 RX 450h comes in base and F Sport versions, and both have all-wheel drive – Lexus calls it all-weather drive – which is new for this model year. Lexus has added more standard safety features, including a panoramic, blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert; pre-collision braking; pedestrian detection; lane departure warning with steering assist; adaptive cruise control; and automatic high beams.
The touch-free power open/close rear door will appeal to anyone who often transports items in and out of the car, like a pharmaceutical rep, coach, or busy parent. Lexus says, “To operate, place your hand near the top half of the Lexus emblem on the rear door, about 1 inch away, and then remove your hand once you hear a confirmation tone. The power door will then open.”
Also standard for 2017 is Scout GPS Link, an app that integrates a smartphone's navigation into the RX.
Acura 2017 MDX: starts at $43,950
The Acura MDX continues to be a best-seller, and Acura says the updated and restyled 2017 MDX is powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 engine and boasts greater capabilities, in more conditions, for more passengers. Also, the 2017 MDX will be the very first SUV in its class to apply a comprehensive suite of safety and driver assistive technologies as standard equipment. The transmission in the standard model is a 9-Speed Automatic with Sequential SportShift Paddle Shifters, which is fun no matter what you drive.
From a safety features perspective, Acura says their philosophy is simple – to provide safety for everyone. The AcuraWatch™ suite of safety technology is standard across every MDX vehicle, including Collision Mitigation Braking System™, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist, and Road Departure Mitigation.
If you’re a fan of the Acura NSX, you’ll be pleased to know that the MDX Sport Hybrid All-Wheel-Drive setup shares a layout with the supercar. The big difference is that the MDX’s engine sits in the front, and the NSX’s in the back. The MDX SH-AWD has a V-6 engine with a supplemental electric motor for the front wheels and two electric motors to support the rear. A new Sport+ mode has been added to the existing Comfort, Normal, and Sport options.
If you’re looking for a high-quality, smooth-riding luxury three-row crossover, this might be the vehicle for you.
Tesla 2017 Model X – starts at $74,000
Tesla says that their Model X is the safest, fastest and most capable sport utility vehicle in history. And it’s certainly iconic; when the rear doors are open in their upward position, it looks like the vehicle is spreading its wings like a giant eagle. And the windshield is more like a force field, curving overhead up and into the ceiling of the car, giving the driver and front-seat passenger a unique view of the world.
With all-wheel drive and a 100 kWh battery providing 289 miles of range, Model X is amazingly fast for something that looks like a crossover SUV. Strap in, because it can gear up from zero to 60 in slightly less than 5 seconds in the regular 90D. Like the Tesla sedan models, acceleration is very quick off the line, with instant torque that may surprise the test driver new to the Tesla appeal.
If you like, you can purchase a Model X with Ludicrous mode, which gives you even more thrust and speed for an extra $10,000. For a frame of reference, the P90D has power that is comparable to the Mustang GT V8; with Ludicrous mode, it can take on a Porsche and performs respectably next to a Ferrari. Folks, please don’t get caught racing on surface streets. Model X seats 7 with extra room for luggage and gear, which makes it a perfect family car for active Austinites. At two and a half tons, this vehicle compares to the Range Rover in terms of size, and is no slouch on rugged terrain.
The base version carries a 75 kWh battery, and the upscale option offers a bigger battery size at 90 kWh. The Model X 90D has an EPA estimated range of 257 miles on a single charge, and the P90D high-performance version has an estimated range of 250 miles.
All Model Xs ride on an air suspension; coupled with well-tuned suspension and steering, the vehicle’s ride is as steady as an ocean liner. Nimble and agile, the Model X is a dream to drive.