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Mix 100.3 Morning Podcasts

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Dom Testa

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mix 100 jeremy padgettJeremy Padgett

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August 23, 2019

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Jeremy
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Double Dutch
8

Review: 2019 Range Rover Sport SVR

Try as I might, I couldn’t stop my brain from defaulting to one particular thought during the week I drove this SUV:

It’s a luxury vehicle built to perform near the top of the class in off-road conditions, to the point that it even has a device that measures the depth of the water you’re frolicking through.

And it costs (with options) more than $130,000.

I was nervous and overly cautious just pulling through the parking lot of the grocery store; I couldn’t imagine taking a vehicle that costs the same as a small condo and grinding it over rocks and tree stumps.

I mean, a Range Rover was even once put on display at the Louvre (seriously), and now I’m going to plow through that swamp up ahead?

But here’s the thing. Even with that pedigree of off-road excitement, you can’t deny that the average buyer is very happy tooling up to the valet at 5-star restaurants.

Which is funny, since one of the chief engineers responsible for introducing the Range Rover, Spen King, once said the vehicle was “never intended as a status symbol.”

Dang, sorry Spen. That genie is long out of the bottle.Continue Reading

Review: 2019 Mazda 3 Hatchback AWD

Full disclaimer up front: On our morning radio show, one of our sponsors is a Mazda dealership in the Denver/Boulder area. They have nothing to do with this review, nor did I get the car from them.

However, it was through them that I heard about the Mazda 3 picking up all-wheel drive for the first time. So when I found one parked in my driveway, mine to mess with for a week, I was curious how this newly-designed 3 would perform.

My basic review is that I truly enjoyed this car, with only two minor exceptions — and one of those has a work-around. The other is simply another result of the nanny state we’re forced to live with.

For 2019 the Mazda 3 has been fully redesigned, the 4th generation of this model. If you’re only familiar with the older versions, trust me, in many ways this is a big leap forward.Continue Reading

Review: 2019 Lexus IS350 AWD

For years Lexus has built its brand on sophistication, luxury, and comfort, and that’s a pretty nice platform.

So while they might have the chops to insist on playing in the sports sedan segment, no matter what kind of oomph they install under the hood they’ll always remain true to their roots.

The IS350 wants to be a bad boy, but it just can’t quite shed its pretty boy heritage. Is that a bad thing?

You’d have to decide. I spent a week in the IS350 and felt like the two sides grappled with each other. Even the name, IS, can’t run from its origin, which is Intelligent Sport.

You’ll never hear Mustang or Corvette try to wear an Intelligent label. They just want to crush you.

None of this is meant in a derogatory way — for Lexus, Ford, nor Chevy. They all have their strengths, and that includes the IS.Continue Reading

Review: 2019 Toyota RAV4 Adventure

It was January of 1996, and consumers who had longed for an SUV that didn’t take up two parking spaces finally were granted their wish.

Toyota unveiled the first compact crossover SUV. They made sure to play off the intended use of the vehicle by naming it the “Recreational Activity Vehicle: 4-Wheel-Drive.”

When you crunch that mouthful down to an acronym, you wind up with the RAV4.

And for the past 20-plus years, Toyota has satisfied the segment of the population looking for a smaller, nimble crossover that’s a little easier on the bank account.

Granted, over the years the price has swelled, but it’s still reasonable. And while there are shortcomings, the RAV4 continues to satisfy the market it targeted in the first place.Continue Reading

Review: 2019 Land Rover Discovery HSE Luxury

When you think of a car being designed today, you probably imagine someone hunched over a computer screen in an office, high up in a gleaming building in some large city.

Which is why there’s something charming about the fact that the original Land Rover was designed on a farm.

It was the late 1940s, and it’s likely the Land Rover was inspired by the recent success of the American Jeep in World War II. The earliest Land Rovers were even painted with leftover supplies from the war effort, so they were all shades of green.

We’ve come a long way, and so has the Rover. Today it’s the one that’s gleaming, with sleek, modern lines and high-end materials. But it never lost its original farm bones; it’s not afraid to veer off the pavement and take you across country, bounding through fields and up slopes.

Just give it a good scrub afterwards and it’ll be ready to take you back to the country club later that evening.Continue Reading

Review: 2019 Nissan Pathfinder SL

The Pathfinder has been around in one form or another since the mid-1980s, originally a two-door vehicle that resembled a truck more than an SUV.

Since then it’s found its way through a few generations (the last one about 7 years ago) until arriving at today’s mid-size SUV workhorse. And these days the Pathfinder is built on the same platform as Nissan’s Altima and Maxima, so it looks and behaves less like its truck ancestors.

Though the category is crowded with more-than-worthy competitors, Nissan has always managed a loyal following of Pathfinder lovers, and this 2019 version does nothing to disappoint those fans.Continue Reading

Review: 2019 Cadillac XT4

It took a while for Cadillac to realize the compact luxury SUV market was big enough for them to participate, but now they’ve arrived to the party.

The XT4, which is marketed as a luxurious and sporty player, comes up just a smidge short on both fronts.

But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a solid choice. It’s a fun drive, and won’t ever let you forget you’re driving a Cadillac.

Continue Reading

Review: 2019 Mercedes GLC 350e

I had to sit and ponder my feelings about this luxury SUV. I’d just spent a week driving it and inspecting it, but mostly trying to figure it out.

Here’s what I came away with. The 2019 Mercedes GLC 350e is that person from high school that you think you should be in love with. They’re stylish, they’re sophisticated, and they have all of these traits that seem desirable.

Then you go out with them a few times and you realize you’re better off as friends.

Say hello to my new friend, the GLC 350e.

Continue Reading

Review: 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt

Here’s everything you need to know about the 2019 Mustang Bullitt edition in one sentence:
After about 20 minutes in the car, my wife said to me, “Riding in the passenger seat of this car is a bummer.”

I think you get what she’s saying, right? This car is all about the driver. If you’re consigned to the passenger seat, all you can do is watch and envy.

Oh, and one other observation, this time from a teenager folded into the back seat: “Hey, they misspelled bullet.”

So at least the public education system scores a point.

The Basics

The Mustang comes in five trim levels, starting with the base EcoBoost, working its way up through a couple of GT models, and capping it all with the remarkable Bullitt.Continue Reading

Review: 2019 Volkswagen Jetta SEL

There are surprises, and there are pleasant surprises. The 2019 Jetta falls into the latter category.

It had been a few years since I got a peek at this particular VW model, and I could tell right away that the recent redesign has really helped an already-popular car.

The Jetta is approaching its 40th birthday (this fall, in fact), and over the last decade it has elbowed its way into being VW’s top-selling car, with more than 15 million of them on the road. It’s even worn the title of “best-selling European car in North America” more than once.

Now, with some stylish tweaks the new 7th generation of the Jetta is ready to continue its strong run.Continue Reading

Dom In The Morning Blog

Fizz & Feathers – A Roaring Good Time

Saturday, September 7th
Ironworks
Fizz & Feathers – the latest signature event of the 5280 AIR Society – will turn Denver’s Ironworks into a modern-day speakeasy, showcasing Denver’s top restaurants, award-winning mixologists and an inspired take on the music of the roaring twenties. With major event buzz generated by radio, television, and print, this year’s event will be another huge success benefiting National Jewish Health Morgridge Academy for chronically ill children.

Presenting Sponsor:

 

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Review: 2019 Range Rover Sport SVR

Try as I might, I couldn’t stop my brain from defaulting to one particular thought during the week I drove this SUV:

It’s a luxury vehicle built to perform near the top of the class in off-road conditions, to the point that it even has a device that measures the depth of the water you’re frolicking through.

And it costs (with options) more than $130,000.

I was nervous and overly cautious just pulling through the parking lot of the grocery store; I couldn’t imagine taking a vehicle that costs the same as a small condo and grinding it over rocks and tree stumps.

I mean, a Range Rover was even once put on display at the Louvre (seriously), and now I’m going to plow through that swamp up ahead?

But here’s the thing. Even with that pedigree of off-road excitement, you can’t deny that the average buyer is very happy tooling up to the valet at 5-star restaurants.

Which is funny, since one of the chief engineers responsible for introducing the Range Rover, Spen King, once said the vehicle was “never intended as a status symbol.”

Dang, sorry Spen. That genie is long out of the bottle.

The Basics

The only way to describe this beast is a high-performance, dynamic luxury SUV that has power for days.

How much power? How about 575 horses in the SVR model I drove.

That energy is created by a 5.0-liter V8, and paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission, along with all-wheel drive.

The SVR, however, is their top-of-the-line trim version. You have several other choices that won’t reach 6-figures in price, starting with the SE. With some of those other versions you’ll have to somehow make do with “only” 515 horsepower.

Some come with two rows of seats while a third row is an option.

They’re still working with the 4th generation, which debuted with the 2012 model year. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t tweaks and adjustments, and the 2019 has its share of those.

Externally, it looks the part of a charging tiger. Sleek lines, eye-catching curb appeal, and style out the wazoo — but still never disguising the fact that it can out-gun most of its luxury competitors.

The Inside

Forget for the moment all of that crazy off-roading, and concentrate on your drive to work. Will you be comfortable.

Very.

The Range Rover spared no expense (well, and passed it on to you) to envelop you in seats that are very well-designed. Total comfort and support, and in a look that screams class. I loved the combination of leather and stitching.

I also enjoyed the generous expanse of room up front and for the back seat passengers. It was a bit surprising that there wasn’t more personal storage in the front, but I think the primary design intent was more to wow you with luxury than to worry about where to store your stuff.

More solid eye appeal with the center control stack, from the gear shift and control know, up through the dual screens that make up the center console.

The panoramic roof is ideal for a vehicle this size, providing an open feel to you and your friends along for the joyride.

Cargo storage is okay, but not massive. Towing capacity, on the other hand, can be impressive, depending on your trim choice.

The Drive

The experts at the track say the Range Rover Sport can launch itself from zero to sixty in about 4 and a half seconds. That good enough for you?

Disclaimer, I did not test the SVR in its off-road capabilities (see earlier comment about damage insecurity), but every trip in the city or the highway was a pleasant experience.

That monstrous V8 not only provides the sizzling acceleration, but the rest of your drive remains strong while smooth.

Steering and handling are first-rate, and the overall ride is ultra smooth.

Road noise is practically silenced, leaving you with only the ferocious growl of your SUV’s power plant.

The Tech

If I have to nitpick about anything with the Sport SVR, it’s the tech.

Overall I like the concept of having two separate screens. One is focused primarily on the functions of the vehicle’s locomotive capacities and climate control, and the other is dedicated to things like and sound, navigation, and communication.

Well, the sound is terrific. Your SVR can be delivered with a high-end Meridian Audio system, and my Range Rover had something like two millions speakers, I think.

The dude in the Charger next to you at the light will not stand a chance.

Ah, but we’ve also reached the age of compatibility with our devices, and here’s where I experienced a bit of frustration.

Range Rover has made Apple CarPlay and Android Auto part of a “free” pack that you’ll want. But it was wonky for me most days; one time it would connect with no trouble at all, and the next I’d have to unplug it and plug it back in — sometimes more than once — to get it to sync up.

As for safety and convenience, the Sport SVR has plenty of well-appreciated standard features, such as a 360-degree camera, lane departure warnings, and their Park Pack traffic monitor.

For a bit more you can opt for the Driver Assist Pack, which adds blind-spot assist and adaptive cruise control.

The Bottom Line

No fewer than five people, upon finding out the sticker for the SVR, asked “Aren’t you afraid to drive it?”

No! I may have been reluctant to take such a gleaming jewel off the beaten path, but traditional driving? It was glorious.

If you’ve arrived in this world, and you’re looking for high-end luxury paired with excellent drivability, mind-blowing power, and off-road freedom, the Range Rover Sport is calling your name.

Bear in mind all of that power and thrust comes at a fuel expense. City and combined mileage is in the mid-teens.

The Details

2019 Range Rover Sport SVR
5.0-liter V8
575 horsepower
8-speed transmission
All-wheel drive
Fuel economy: 15/20/16 combined
MSRP: $114,500
As tested: $131,520

Reviewed by Dom Testa
Vehicle provided by manufacturer

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