SUV Choices – Infiniti QX50 and Chevy Traverse

February 1st, 2019

By Don Armstrong

Given the popularity of SUVs, there are lots of decisions to make when you buy; price, brand, size, trim level, to name a few. In this edition of Bay Area Houston Magazine, we compare a luxury brand to an American standard that might bring some shopper clarity.

Infiniti QX50

Nissan’s luxury label, Infiniti, has made its own mark among Japanese entries in the SUV market by winning over millions of buyers looking for style and quality.

The completely redesigned 2019 QX50 checks all the boxes in a world becoming crowded with SUVS. At first glance, you’re greeted with a large, open-mouth grille. Two, large ridges adorn the hood, adding to its forward aero design. A short sun shade spoiler overhangs the rear glass.

The QX50’s interior gets high marks too starting with a sophisticated dash layout, high zoot stitching and quality workmanship throughout. The infotainment screen is tilted back, away from the driver and tucked under the dash pad, requiring a mouse-like control knob on the center console. Front seats are comfortable and supportive. The second row slides, reclines and folds flat, with enough leg room for 3 full sized adults.

An all-new, 268 horsepower 4-cylinder engine powers this QX through a continuously variable transmission. That’s more power than the outgoing V-6. We were impressed.

Pricing starts at $36,550. Nicely equipped, about $55,000.

Chevrolet Traverse

Redesigned last year, the 2019 Traverse is Chevy’s largest 3-row crossover and compares nicely with the Suburban SUV, albeit lighter, more agile and easier on gas consumption.

The Traverse is packaged in an attractive, sleek, nicely balanced, yet conservative, design, unlike the boxy Suburban.

Its interior is very GM. That’s not a bad thing, just very utilitarian. Chevy does, however, offer contrasting trim options on the upper end badges that helps customize it to your taste. The infotainment touchscreen is easy to use and understand. It seats up to 8.

Under the hood is nestled the venerable 3.6-liter V-6 that delivers 310 horsepower through a 9-speed automatic transmission to the front wheels. A 4-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive are optional.

If you are looking for performance handling, ride, braking or performance, you’ll need to look elsewhere. Chevrolet’s Traverse however hits the sweet spot in price and utility and doesn’t pretend to be something it isn’t.

Pricing starts at just a tic under $30,000 but fully loaded swells the price to $53,000.

Fun Fall Rides

October 1st, 2017

By Don Armstrong

Despite growing sales of SUVs and coupes, sport cars continue to intrigue aficionados and car lovers alike. This month, we look at America’s sport car and a 4-place coupe that will whet your appetite for fall weekend road trips in search of autumn leaves, crooked roads and cooler weather.

Chevrolet Corvette GS
Readers of this column always ask us, “what is your favorite car?” Raising kids dulled sport car thoughts for the past two decades but a recent drive of a 2018 Corvette GS awakened sleeping desires.

For 65 years, the Corvette has been the dream of every red-blooded, American kid, including me. I’ve owned many in my lifetime and enjoyed each one.

The new 2018 GS is a notch above the base level Corvette and gives the driving enthusiast all the attributes of the ultra-powerful, Porsche-killer, Z06, but without its mega-horsepower.

Let’s face it, the base 455-horspower, 6.2-liter V-8 that resides under the hood of the GS is enough to get even the most skilled pilot into some serious trouble.

Equipped with a 7-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission, this Chevy makes it easy to compete on the track and get you to the office in style. Add the carbon fiber package and ceramic brakes and you’ll announce to the world that you mean business.

The entry-level Corvette begins at $56,490, add another 10-grand to get the GS package.

Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400
As the name implies, this is not your mama’s every day, run-of-the-mill, luxury coupe.

New for 2017, the Q60 Red Sport 400 is Infiniti’s way of getting to the fast lane in style.

What differentiates the Red Sport from the lower Q60 trim levels is the 400-horsepower, twin turbo V-6 that powers the rear wheels through a 7-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is available. Just by touching the paddles on the steering wheel, the Q60 comes alive with a whoosh of power.

The 2-door sport coupe seats 4 in ultra-plush leather. Even the dash has supercar flair with its dual screens located in the laidback center stack. The instrument pod sits under a notable sunshade that rises in front of the driver.

With adaptive steering and ride adjustability, road trip destinations will become the number one searched item on your new, expensive smart phone.

The Infinti Q60 Red Sport 400 starts at $51,300. Add another 10-grand for a loaded up one, like our tester.

Bay Area Houston Magazine