Category Archives: AutoTips and Such

Dr. Beasley’s Detailing Prescription

We received a sample of the Dr. Beasley’s Glass Serum Kit, complete with a 1 oz. Glass Serum bottle, 2 oz Glass Coating Prep, 1 Foam Block Applicator and 2 Suede Cloths. They also threw in a 1 bottle of AdvanceCoat: Glass. As Dr. Beasley’s president states, “the proof is in the results.” We found it to be somewhat superior to other products on the market; namely, RainX, and easy to use.

The packaging on this new high-tech formulation is handsome and speaks well of the product. You’re not using any low-end ingredients. Indorsed by professionals, automotive manufacturers and enthusiasts alike, Dr. Beasley’s has a popular line of products including a matte paint car line, wheel care, polishes, and ceramic coatings. The Dr.’s products stand out and serve the modern automobiles’ needs well. When I think of the products we used in the past, I shutter at their possible side effects; of which I probably never even considered. Dr. Beasleys Car Care Products, based in Chicago, is new to this automotive writer.

We waited for some much-needed rain here in Indy to ‘test drive’ the nano coating serum recently. As the label tells the buyer, Dr. Beasley’s products are handcrafted with over 30 years of detailing knowledge and passion. Easy to apply and with quick results, we found that the rain beaded right off the windshield. We haven’t applied the Serum to side windows yet, but will give that a try, also.

A big part of president Jim Lafeber’s motivation to create the Dr. Beasley’s line was his dissatisfaction with how previous products he was using at his Chicago detailing business, Simon’s Shine Shop, were affecting his customer’s vehicles’ health. Jim utilized his chemistry background to formulate detailing solutions of his own. He took in-house products to market under the Dr. Beasley’s name, gaining notability for their matte paint car line. They also formulate, manufacture and package the car care products within their Chicago, IL facility.

The “proof is in the results,” says Mr. Lafeber. “Our formulas are crafted with pharmaceutical grade ingredients.” Working to continually enhance their products, Dr. Beasley’s promises ‘high-quality” results.The Glass Serum Kit comes with instructions. (See for yourself at Read about their products and order some for yourself).
Your car will love you for it!

Dr. Beasley’s won us over, not only after first use, but upon learning that Jim named his car care line after his Alaskan Malamute, Beasley. Applying the Glass Serum to all three cars, we promptly tossed our other inferior products in the garbage. I also applied it to windshield of my brother-in-law’s 2010 Kia Soul, after a three-hour detailing project. He’ll have to convice himself it’s really raining the next time he drives when it’s wet!!

Try Dr. Beasley’s. We think you’ll agree.

Hey, Jim, how about a picture of Beasley (the Malamute) on your box? Mr. Tito’s “dog” vodka isn’t the only star out there!

Plan for you and your Pet to Survive a Natural Disaster

Don’t be unprepared when it comes to caring for your pet’s safety during inclement weather. Think about and plan, a strategy for when an emergency situation strikes. All of us should have a preparedness plan in place should tornadoes, fires, violent storms or floods happen.

It would seem that in the last several years, the weather conditions have clearly worsened, making it necessary to have a plan not only for the safety of our family, but for our pets, as well. Think about how you will move your pet(s) in an emergency situation. We’ve all seen the news during horrendous conditions, such as wild fires or hurricanes like Katrina and Harvey.

Things to include for your get-away include leashes or crates, a lightweight totebag carrier/container for a bird, ferret or rabbit. Also recommended are bottled water and the animal’s food. In longer term disasters, notes Dr. Eurell, a veterinarian at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in Urbana, IL., “you need to prepare with food, water and medications for your pets.”

Also handy is a large blanket or thick quilt to help protect you and your pets from dangerous flying glass or other debris in a storm. Learn how to turn off the gas and electricity in your home and be sure to include any needed tools in your kit. A flashlight, cell phone and charger, and weather radio are also musts. Another item that may save lives is a copy of the Pet First Aid book, available through the Red Cross. Taking a class in first aid/CPR for animals might also be a good idea.

Our pets should wear a collar at all times, complete with the owner’s name and cell phone number. This simple gesture can dramatically increase the chances of you and your pet being reunited should you be separated. Microchipping, which most dogs and cats receive today from their vet, is also something to seriously consider. Perhaps keeping a copy of your pet’s vaccination, and of your driver’s license can also be helpful.

As with all storms, choosing a safe place in your home is necessary; even practicing a drill helps us be as prepared as possible. Go to a basement, crawl space, area under a stairway, or interior room without windows. As soon as the sirens start, go to your designated spot. Take all warnings seriously. Such disasters as mudslides, earthquakes, floods move quickly and often don’t allow time for people and animals to get out of the affected area.

Plan for all possible emergencies, from fires in your own home, to natural disasters. Does the fire department know that you have animals in your home? I have a fire safety sticker notice in the front window of my home to alert police and fire that animals live here.

With good reason, pets are not allowed at disaster relief shelters. However, many states are working to provide shelters for pets and/or working with shelters in other states to accommodate separated pets.

After a disaster, be patient with your pets, try to get them back into their normal routine. Be ready and alert to behavior changes caused by the stress of the event. If there seem to be any health problems, consult your vet. When storms strike, you may not be able to get home immediately.

Therefore, it’s good to have a backup plan or person who can reach them. Make sure your backup person or neighbor has a list of your pet’s feeding and maintenance schedule and habits. If you utilize a pet service, determine whether they have any kind of available help during emergency situations.

Contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Red Cross for more detailed emergency information. Start getting ready now!

Determine your City’s Rank for Driving

In case you’re able to pick and choose where you’ll drive this summer, the personal-finance website WalletHub provides their report on 2018’s Best and Worst Cities to Drive in. 2018’s Best & Worst Cities to Drive in.

To help you determine the most driver-friendly places in the U.S., WalletHub compared the 100 largest cities across 29 key metrics. Their data set ranges from average gas prices to annual hours in traffic congestion per auto commuter to auto-repair shops per capita. Here is their list of the Best and Worst Cities:

Best Cities for Driving Worst Cities for Driving
1 Raleigh, NC 91 Chicago, IL
2 Corpus Christi, TX 92 Los Angeles, CA
3 Orlando, FL 93 Newark, NJ
4 Greensboro, NC 94 New York, NY
5 Plano, TX 95 Boston, MA
6 Winston-Salem, NC 96 Seattle, WA
7 Durham, NC 97 Philadelphia, PA
8 El Paso, TX 98 Oakland, CA
9 Jacksonville, FL 99 San Francisco, CA
10 Tampa, FL 100 Detroit, MI

The Best vs. Worst info lays out like this:

• In Greensboro, North Carolina, residents spend the fewest annual hours in traffic congestion per auto commuter
• (four, which is 25.5 times fewer than in Los Angeles, the city where residents spend the most at 102).

• Gilbert, Arizona, boasts the fewest car thefts (per 1,000 residents), (0.49, which is 33.1 times fewer than in Oakland, California, the city with the most at 16.23).

• Oklahoma City has the lowest average gas price, $2.58 per gallon, (which is 1.5 times lower than in San Francisco, the city with the highest at $3.85 per gallon).

• Riverside, California, has the lowest average parking rate, ($1.43 per two hours, which is 19.2 times lower than in Buffalo, New York, the city with the highest at $27.44 per two hours).

If you’re interested in looking at the complete report, and determining your city’s rank, visit:

Chosen Vehicles at this year’s New York Int’l Auto Show

During the 2018 New York International Auto Show last March, some of the vehicles chosen for awards included a wide variety of brands:

*World Car Design of the Year: Range Rover Velar
*World Luxury Car: Audi A8
*World Performance Car: BMW M5
*World Urban Car: VW Polo
*World Car of the Year: Volvo XC60
*5-passenger SUV: VW Atlas

Industry News

June 2018:

*General Motors Cadillac division recently announced it will be introducing a new sedan every six months!! This seems odd as to hear tell, the sedan as we know it, is on the way out?? Nevertheless, through 2021, GM is giving money to build two of them at the Lansing Grand River Assembly Plant in Michigan. GM will put $175 million into the next-generation Cadillac sedans.

*In other news from GM, the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer returns in a midsize crossover version. It looks great and will sell well, we predict.

*Out of Volvo, the news is the self-driving Volvo XC90 crossover SUV is planned for 2021. The Level 4 self-driving crossover SUV will be built at the So Carolina plant, and will be able to transport sleeping passengers toward their destination on limited roadways. The initial goal is provide a semi-automatic commuter vehicle. The technology is called Highway Assist, similar to Volvo’s already available Pilot Assist. In 2019, Volvo will debut its S60 vehicle.

*Volvo has confirmed that their new Care by Volvo Subscription Service is now available to deliver to automakers SC40 crossover Suv’s in most states. In 2019 the S60 Sedan will be unveiled at the So. Carolina factory, and is on track for subscriptions by the end of 2018.

*In 2019, Mazda’s infamous MX-5 Miata will get a 17 percent boost in horsepower over the 2018 model, to 181 hp. More power, higher redline. Can’t wait!

*At Volkswagen, the slow-selling dated Tiguan Ltd will be discontinued after the 2018 model year. The first five months of 2018 only saw 7,732 sales of the Limited crossover SUV. The Limited model was introduced in 2017 as a renamed, budget-priced ($23,150) version of VW’s Tiguan SUV. The design dates back to 2007, while its replacement redesigned model (2018) took over the straight Tiguan nameplate.

Drive-In Theatres Spell Summer and Nostalgia

Susan Frissell, Editor

June 6 is National Drive-In Movie Day, and believe it or not, there are still plenty of drive-in movie theaters in the U.S. Most recently, I read an article about several in Indiana and it motivated me to pass along some of the “do’s and don’ts” of Drive-In etiquette. Indiana, the most western state that is still in the Eastern time zone, is the state with the most miles of major highways in the country. It makes sense they would have the biggest number of Drive-Ins still in operation.

Fifty years ago, there were very few people who had not been to a Drive-In theatre. Obviously, times have changed, but for us baby-boomers and many millennials who grew up with cool parents, there are a few still operating to enjoy.

According to T.J. Jaeger (ARTS@NUVO.NET), after WWII, America had a ‘new’ generation of teenagers: One who had easy access to cars. The movie and the car boom were partly responsible for the invention of drive-in theaters across the country. Beginning on the east coast, drive-ins have change as have the movies and the film.

There are some 322 classic drive-in movie theaters open for business across America. In Nashville, TN, the opening soon August Moon Drive-In will be a 40,000-square-foot indoor space. Moviegoers will feel like they are watching a film outdoors with August Moon’s simulated starry sky and gigantic screen.

If the Drive-In is to survive, it’s competing today against the ready availability of movies, Netflix, and Hulu. Red Box and public libraries also offer access to feature films. But we don’t see that as competition. Going to a drive-in is, after all, so much more than watching a movie. A unique experience.

What’s better than sitting in the privacy of your own vehicle, watching a movie under the stars, and eating concession hotdogs and popcorn. Why, it is an ‘experience,’ after all. And for many baby-boomers, it brings back fond memories; nostalgia of days gone by.

According to the experts, there a few gems to keep in mind when frequenting a Drive-In:

*Although most movies start around 9:00 p.m., coming in plenty of time is expected. Arrive early-for several reasons: to get a good parking spot, allow time for mingling, bonding and getting the most out of the drive-in experience.
*Some people do bring their own food, but in all fairness to the proprietor, at least buy a coke or popcorn from the food stand. Concessions are the main source of income for Drive-ins, although often overpriced.
*Don’t forget the bug spray!
*Weather can be unpredictable. Bring a blanket, light jacket. Be prepared for the occasional summer storm.
*Drive-In masters give great thought to the Drive-In ‘vehicle of choice.’

A large vehicle with a reliable battery is strongly encouraged. If it’s a double-feature, start your car between the two movies. Don’t leave your car’s lights on or the battery on AC.

Jaeger lists 18 drive-in movies in our neighboring state of Indiana. If you’re up for a road trip, here is a list of those drive-ins still operating:

*49er Drive-In, Valparaiso (open every night), serves Orville Redenbacher’s popcorn!
*Lake Shore Drive-In, Monticello (open every night). Built in 1948.
*M.E.L.S. at the Starlite Drive-In, Thorntown (open Friday, Saturday).
*Tibbs Drive-In, Indianapolis (closed Tuesdays). Last remaining drive-in in Indy.
*Centerbrook Drive-In Martinsville (closed Monday, Tuesday).
*Cinema 67, Spencer (open Friday-Sunday). Concession stand has varied menu.
*Starlite Drive-In, Bloomington (open Friday-Sunday). Uses original screen, stand since 1955.
*Holiday Drive-In, Mitchell (open Thursday-Sunday). Occasional camping nights.
*Holiday Drive-In, Rockport (open every night). Six screens.
*Auburn-Garrett, Garrett (open every night). Renovated in the 1970s.
*Huntington Twin Drive-In, Huntington (open Thursday-Sunday).
*19-24 Drive-In, Wabash (open Thursday-Saturday). Can accommodate 500 cars!
*Skyline Drive-In, Shelbyville (open Thursday-Sunday). Hosts Drive-In Sanity where they screen a third retro film late Saturday nights on 35 mm film.
*Bel-Air Drive-In, Versailles (open Friday-Sunday). Sundays are $30 carload nights.
*Georgetown Drive-In, Georgetown (open every night).
Drive-In Fun Facts:
*Film reels were massive, totaling about 15,000 feet on average
*Films used to be shown on projectors, with thousands of individual still images speeding past a reflector, light bulb and lens. They are now digital.

*Benefits of going digital include: A cleaner, crisper image, easier operation, film is stored on hard drive which takes up less space (cheaper for smaller theaters)-drive-ins can afford digital versions rather than film versions.

At the highlight of the Drive-In boom, Illinois boasted more than 120 facilities; unofficially, only about12 remain. While just a few are still standing, it’s uncertain whether/not they will be revived.

*Hi-Lite, Aurora on Montgomery & Hill Rd. (April-Oct., Weekends, Spring/Fall, 7nites, summer. The oldest remaining Drive-in in Illinois include:
*Skyview, Belleville

*Skyview, Litchfield (April-Oct.), 1950
*Galva AutoVue Drive-In, Galva. 5.3-acre site, twin screen. Holds up to 250 cars.
*Harvest Moon, Gibson City (April-Sept-weekends.; June-July 6 nites). Twin screens.
*Route 66 Drive-In, Springfield
*Clark 54 Twin Pike, Summer Hill
*Cascade Drive-In, West Chicago (Apr.-Oct.)
*Cicero Twin Drive-In, Monee. Two screens, double feature
*Fairview, Newton, 220 miles south of Chicago (April-Sept.), double feature.
*Midway Drive-In, Dixon, 10 min. north of 88.
*34 Drive-In, Earlville

2018 Genesis G80 AWD 3.8

Susan Frissell, publisher

Debuting as it’s ‘own brand’ in the 2017 model year, Genesis was previously part of the Hyundai stable. Introduced in March 2007 as the “Concept Genesis,” the sedan was designed by Hyundai as a “progressive interpretation of the modern rear-wheel drive sports sedan.” Then in 2003, Hyundai conceived the idea for the “Genesis,” part of the Hyundai lineup.

A favorite of this writer, the Genesis epitomizes luxury and comfort, and in 2016 when looking to replace my beloved 2003 Infiniti G35 (and couldn’t swing the replacement Q’s pricing), I tried to negotiate a deal on a 2016 Genesis. No luck. Dealers didn’t seem to be willing to move the pre-driven Genesis,’ even though a new brand and dealerships were coming.

Enter 2017, and the debut of the ‘new’ Genesis G80, and its stablemate, the G90. Features that had been optional became standard in this new rendition, which didn’t make it any more affordable for the masses, but more desirable for those driving higher-end sedans. In 2018, Hyundai introduced a new trim level: the 3.3T sport, with a new twin-turbo V6 engine, and top-of-the-line G80 features.

The powerplant in the new Genesis G80 is Hyundai’s V6 engine, with 311 horsepower, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. One can also opt for the optional twin-turbo V6 (365 horse), or the V8 (420 horse). All are enough power for the average driver, providing a smooth, capable ride.

As expected, the G80 comes equipped with a long list of features, however, we found it odd that our 2018 G80 test vehicle was without a standard sunroof. Climbing into the cabin of the new G80, you’ll feel the difference in trim materials: high quality. Hyundai’s 3.8-liter, V6 engine is plenty powerful, smooth and agile. Horsepower at 311, mated to the eight-speed automatic transmission makes for ease in driving, and plenty get-up-and-go when you need it.

Buyers can opt for three trim levels, starting at a $41,750 price point. Still less than the average luxury midsize car price, the G80 offers most of what these drivers want. The Sport trim level ($55,250), is new and one can add all-wheel-drive for $2,500, with two packages available. If you spend another $5,000, you’ll move into the Premium trim level, adding such features as wireless charging, and that panoramic sunroof.

The Ultimate package ($5,100) adds such amenities as a larger touch screen, multi-angle camera and heads-up display. Expect to be up against the big players such as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class ($52,150), and the ever-popular Lexus GS ($46,310). It’s hard to beat the Lexus brand, but Hyundai is gaining on them.

The most progressive in technology such as smartphone integration can be had by both Lexus and Hyundai, and one can get it for a little less with the G80. In terms of power, the Lexus GS offers a 4-cylinder as base engine, while the G80, of course, the V6. We preferred the G80s large touch screen, in comparison to the GS’ infotainment center. However, if you’re counting MPG, you’ll opt for the Lexus GS; the base gets 22/32 mpg, the G80: 19/27 mpg. But then, we highly doubt these buyers are counting pennies. Of course, one can opt for the larger V6 engine in the Lexus GS (compromising fuel economy, 20/28 mpg).

As expected, the Genesis G80 has many standard safety features, including standard rearview camera. In addition, it is equipped with lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, lane change assist, and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. Also available are safety features such as a multi-angle camera, front and rear park assist, and adaptive LED headlights.

The G80 is a midsize sedan with a large interior and seating for at least five. Heated front seats, leather, 16-way adjustable driver’s sport front seat and sport steering wheel-heated-is standard, as well as ventilated front seats. The ample seats are comfortable, and legroom abounds in the rear seating area. Head room could be a little more plentiful in the rear, but the G80 feels like a big car.

Interior quality feels luxurious and high-end. We liked the wood trim, and if were purchasing this vehicle, would probably opt for the new Sport model with its classy carbon-fiber trim. The contrast stiching is a new look we think ads sportiness and class.

Above average in cargo space, the G80’s trunk measures 15.3 cubic feet, but the rear seats aren’t the fold-down kind, so that’s limiting. A power trunk lid is optional, as the G80’s trunk is hands-free, opened by standing behind it (with the keys on you).

As far as technology for those who must have it, the G80 is equipped with two USB ports, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, 8-inch touch screen, 4.3-inch driver indo display and push-button start. For those who want to move up, you can add the panoramic sunroof, multi-angle camera, heads-up display and 7-inch driver-information display.


Engine: 3.8-liter V6, 311 horsepower, 293 lb.-ft.torque
Transmission: Electronic 8-speed automatic with SHIFTRONIC, Paddle Shifters, HTRAC AWD, intelligent drive mode
Wheelbase: 118.5 in.
Height: 58.3 in.
Width: 74.4 in.
Length: 196.5 in.
Curb weight: 4,350 lbs.
Tires: P245/45VR18
Wheels: aluminum 18×8
Warranty: five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. This is better than Mercedes-Benz’s warranty of four years or 50,000 miles for the E-Class.
Crash test results: perfect five-star overall rating.
The top-of-the-line 5.0 model starts at $57,000 and comes with a 5.0-liter V8 engine and lower trim features. It adds 19-inch alloy wheels, front LED fog lights, and wood and suede trim.

Boo Hoo Beetle

Like many out there, we were sad to learn, that yet again, Volkswagen claims they will be discontinuing the infamous Beetle. After a long-and storied history dating back eight decades, says VW, they are finally going to discontinue the Bug. Speaking from the Geneva motor show last this week, Frank Welsch, head of VW’s research and design, told the audience that the production version of the company’s ID Buzz electric concept (Microbus) will “wave the retro flag.” A production version of the ID Buzz will be salted for the 2022 model year.

According to Welsch, VW says two or three generations of the Bug have been enough. The car was “made with history in mind but you cannot do it five times and have a new, new Beetle,” said Welsch.

In 1979, VW stopped selling the Beetle in the U.S. after it failed to comply with safety and emission standards. It was, though, still built for global markets for another 25 years. VW rode the retro-inspired wave in 1998 with a modern interpretation it named the “New Beetle.” A third-generation arrived in 2012, with a little change in look-sportier, but sales did not meet VW’s expectations.

It will be sad not to see the Bug on the streets. But we imagine many will grab one up, or keep the one they have, for generations to come.

2018 Toyota Prius c 5-door HB Four

Susan Frissell

The 2018 Toyota Pruis c is the most affordable hybrid, and this year brings a new, more hip design, standard black roof rail and colorful rear spoiler. We like it, and much more than its predecessor. We were surprised at the somewhat noisy hybrid engine and transmission, but the 48/43/46 mpg. is pleasing.

This versatile little compact car is equipped with Toyota’s Entune audio system, and if you opt for the trim level offering the most goodies (Four), you’ll be able to play all genres of music. The standard Entune Audio system includes the Entune Multimedia Bundle, a 6.1-inch touch screen display, six speakers for the AM/FM/CD player (with MP3/WMA playback capability).

And for those who are always connected, an auxiliary audio jack, USB 2.0-port with iPod connectivity and control, advanced voice recognition and Bluetooth are standard. Phonebook access and music streaming are also available. If you’re an Apple user, you use Siri Eyes Free for requests.

We thought the speakers left a little to be desired, and the control knobs not easily operated. It may seem odd today to say for $26,000, you get a lot of car. But when the average price of an automobile today is $36,495, it is reasonable to get something under $30,000.

Our Prius c came equipped with just two options, including Body Side Moldings ($209), and Carpet Floor Mats/Cargo Mat ($224). The Prius c is available in four models: One: $20,630; Two: $21,430; Three: $22,855 and Four: $24,965.

The test car came in “eye-popping” Absolutely Red color that stood out and seemed to fit this small crossover design. The sporty details make it more appealing to all, and the seating for five, although a tad cramped, allows for passengers and gear. Toyota Prius c adds two new colors to the color palette for 2018: Sandstorm and, new for Toyota, Tide Pool Pearl.All new colors make the car easier to spot on the back roads at night.

Also updated for 2018 are the black side rocker and wheel arch moldings which seem to frame the 15-inc, 8-spoke wheels well. We’re beginning to prefer these darker wheels; gray in the c’s case, but often seen in black these days, on other manufacturer’s models.

In addition to the usual Toyota warranty (see SPECS), the Toyota Prius c comes standard with ToyotaCare, a complimentary plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance and 24-hour roadside assistance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Of course, the Prius c has a standard integrated backup camera for 2018. Along with the latest in safety technology, this is a safe car despite its small stature. Standard safety features include Toyota Safety Sense C (TSS-C) driver-assist technologies, Pre-Collision System (PCS), Lane Departure Alert (LDA), and Automatic High Beams.

TSS-C is designed to take care of key areas of driver assistance, including preventing or mitigating front collisions, helping to enhance nightime driving/road safety and to help drivers stay in their lane. As expected, Toyota is ahead of other manufacturers in safety items, including automatic emergency braking systems.

In case you were wondering what the “c” in the Prius c stands for, we’ll tune you in. The ‘c’ stands for ‘city.’ The ‘c’ philosophy means that although the car itself may ‘seem’ small, it’s not small inside. The cabin is bigger than expected (often the case these days with small vehicles), as the design maximizes interior space well. The rear-seat provides 35-inches of space for stretching out, and the cargo volume measures 17.1-cu.ft. Of course, to add space the rear seats are a 60/40-split.

Because of its size, the Prius c is easy to drive and maneuver. Great to park, and easy to drive around town due to its agility. The hybrid battery is located beneath the rear seats, and the gas tank is easily accessible on the rear of the driver’s side.

Adding a slight ‘luxury’ feel, the Prius c Four adds LED fog lights, a power tilt/slide moonroof (which we inadvertently began to open in rain!), sliding sunshade, heated front seats and outside mirrors, and SofTex-trimmed seats. The interior seats were a light cream, which went nicely with the Absolutely Red exterior.

As hybrid systems go, they are relatively trouble-free and provide years of service. In the case of the Prius c, its hybrid system works with a gasoline engine, incorporating a electric motor within a continuously variable transaxle, a nickel-metal hydride battery, a power control unit (inverter), a DC-DC converter, and a step-up converter.

A hybrid control computer manages the application of gasoline engine and electric power, which depends on the drive mode and driving demands. As with many vehicles today, the driver has a choice of driving modes, that generally include ECO, Normal and Sport modes. Depending on terrain and circumstances, the ECO is a favorite and provides good mileage. We would guess most drivers change modes less often than imagined.

EV mode allows for driving just by electric power for up to one mile. Most often used when driving around town.

Occupant safety in the 2018 Prius c is Toyota’s number one concern. Anyone driving this vehicle can be assured of that, with nine airbags, standard Star Safety System (Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, ABS, Electronic Force Distribution, Smart Stop Technology). As mentioned above, Toyota is ahead of most with its Safety Sense-C (TSS-C), featuring Automatic Emergency Braking.

Toyota’s Pre-collision System (PCS) operates at vehicle speeds of about 7 to 85 mph, uses a camera and laser beam to detect the vehicle ahead. PCS may provide additional braking force using Brake Assist, if needed. Speed is reduced so that if a collision occurs, damage is a lot less. Lane Departure Alert (which we find annoying) also uses a camera to detect visible lane markings and reminds drivers to get back in their lane.

Also helpful, especially on back roads is the Automatic High Beam system which detects the headlights of oncoming vehicles and taillights of vehicles traveling ahead, then automatically switches between high and low beams to provide better visibility and the road ahead.

Each of the four Prius c models offers a little more, with a small hike in base price. Depending on driver’s needs and pocketbook, there is something here for everyone.


MSRP: $24,965, total vehicle price $26,293, delivery $895
Engine: Hybrid Synergy Drive System, SULEV, 1.5-liter DOHC, 16V, VVT-1, 4-cylinder, 72 hp., 83 lb.ft. torque
Transmission: EV/ECO Modes, FWD, Choose Drive Mode
Wheelbase: 100.4 in.
Length: 162.4 in.
Width: 68.6 in.
Height: 59.6 in.
Gas tank capacity: 9.5 gal.
Curb weight: 2,530 lbs.
MPG: 48/43/46
Tires: P175/65R15
Wheels: 15-inch alloy
Warranty: 36-month/36,000-mile basic new-vehicle; powertrain: 60,000-miles; corrosionno mileage limit; hybrid-related components (battery, battery control module, hybrid control module,inverter with converter): 8 year/100,000-miles

2018 Toyota C-HR XLE

Susan Frissell,Publisher

Some may find the new Toyota C-HR compact SUV quirky and without a market, but we thought it handled well, provided a quiet, smooth ride and offers something a tad different from the business-as-usual SUV’s out there today. We enjoyed our week in the all-new Toyota product.

Competing with several more vehicles than we expected, the C-HR will win points for being a Toyota-in many shoppers minds, that is. Competitors include the obvious Nissan Juke, and Kia Soul. Perhaps the not so obvious include the Chevrolet Trax and Fiat 500X. Jeep Renegade, Mazda CX3 and Nissan Rogue Sport, are also on the list, as well as the Honda HR-V.

A lot of choices in the friendly-size category these days, although this writer isn’t just sure how anyone opting for this style SUV would do so when opting for more space. True, one does sit up higher, which is a big appeal for shoppers, women especially.

Seating for five makes the C-HR, a subcompact crossover, plausable, and may attract plenty of would-be RAV4 buyers. The price is right (starting at $22,500), and no doubt, one can easily drive and park this smaller SUV with much ease. The C-HR came to be when Scion was still imagining desirable vehicles, and thought they needed to contribute a compact SUV. Now badged a Toyota, the new C-HR has become the manufacturer’s most affordable SUV.

Although some may think the new C-HR doesn’t offer as much as some of its competition, we disagree. We believe it offers just enough. Not one who appreciates all the high-tech features in today’s automobiles, we’re happy to have just some basics. And that is not to say the C-HR only offers the ‘basics.’

The C-HR’s powertrain, with a 2.-0-liter, 4-cylinder, 144 horsepower and 139 lb. ft. torque, seems just right, unless you’re expecting more. We found it adequate for most driving. Matched with Toyota’s CVT transmission, the ride is sure and steady, with just enough acceleration to power this compact SUV. Noise and vibration levels, we found, weren’t near as noticeable as expected they might be. This was a surprise, and when it happens, almost always a surprise since today’s cars are so quiet.

The moment we climbed into the C-HR, we found it comfortable, quieter-than-expected and easy to maneuver. My sister owns two Kia Soul’s and the C-HR feels similar. Rear seat room for passengers is adequate with plenty of legroom. Unless someone is hovering over six feet tall, most can be accommodated in the backseat. Rear-seat legroom is commendable and we kind of like that high-placed rear door handle!

Some criticism has been thrown at the ‘weird’ shape of the C-HR. We liked it right out of the box. We didn’t receive any negative comments from riders or spectators, but other writers have reported some. Actually, it’s kind of refreshing to have a vehicle available that doesn’t resemble every other car on the block. Ok, for some, it may look disproportioned with its big rear-end and bulging fenders. Perhaps like some designs, it takes time to become acclimated to it, but personally, I would rather drive something that’s different. We think of it as “distinctive.”

By comparison, the C-HR’s tech offerings seem inadequate, but as mentioned above, for us Baby Boomers, not having so much to keep track of is refreshing. The C-HR’s seven-inch screen is standard, devoid of Satellite radio, Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, or any kind of navigation. The radio is very small, placed high, and when going back/forth locating radio stations, one has to use an awkward button, seeking available channels.

The backup camera is located on the rearview mirror, smaller than most, and even though this vehicle seems to be directed at young drivers, there is only one USB charging port. Not that one can’t update a sound system, but drivers today have come to expect these kind of amenities.

Safety features on the C-HR are the standard faire, and include adaptive cruise, lane-keep assist, pre-collision braking, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, and automatic high beams. No blind-spot monitor or AWD offering. Fuel economy isn’t stellar, but acceptable at 27/31 mpg. We didn’t test mileage on the highway, but averaged around 29 mpg. around town. Rivals like the Mazda3 (34 mpg. highway) or Honda HR-V (33 mpg.) do offer a little better efficiency, but the C-HR weighs somewhat more, as well; around 3.300 lbs.

Helping out with a slanted rear-end window is a rear wiper blade, handy during inclement weather. The C-HR is available in two trim levels: XLE ($22,500) and XLE Premium ($24,350).

Our test Toyota C-HR carried a MSRP of $22,500 (total vehicle price $24,318, delivery $995) and included three options, including carpeted floormats and cargo mat ($194), mudguards ($129) and R-Code Color Keyed Body w/White Roof and Mirrors ($500). We liked the two-tone color arrangement, although the body called “Radiant Green” is really turquoise!


Engine: 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder DOHC, 16-valve, 144 hp., 139 lb.ft. torque
Transmission: CVT w/OD, intelligence and Shift Mode, 8-speed, FWD
Wheelbase: 103.9 in.
Length: 171.2 in.
Width: 70.7 in.
Height: 61.6 in.
Tires: P225/50VR18
Wheels: Aluminum 18×7
Gas Tank capacity: 13.2 gal.
Curb weight: 3,300 lbs.
Warranty: Basic: 3 yrs/36,000-miles; Drivetrain: 5 yrs/60,000-miles; Maintenance: 2 yrs/25,000-miles; Corrosion: 5 yrs/unlimited mileage; Roadside Assistance: 2 yrs/25,000-miles